Vail Resorts took another hit Tuesday night after the Vail Town Council voted to suspend the issuance of permits for the company’s East Vail Booth Heights property. The town already voted to begin condemning the property in May, which Vail Resorts initially intended to use for employee housing expansions. Though the town has already approved and built several large homes and a school near the location, the hold on permits comes as an attempt to protect a herd of bighorn sheep that winters in the area.
“We have agreed to implement standards and restrictions on this site that no other landowner in East Vail is subject to. Vail is happy to implement these restrictions despite being the only landowner being asked to do so but it draws the line at being banned from receiving permits for the site while no other landowner in the entire area of East Vail is. This town has already demonstrated that human activity, Airbnbs, construction and even an increased allowance for over 100 students and corresponding travel at Vail Mountain School can occur within East Vail and coexist with the bighorn sheep herd. Vail Resorts … should not be unilaterally singled out with this ordinance.” – Head of Vail Resorts ski areas in Colorado and Utah Bill Rock, according to the Colorado Sun
Initially, Vail Resorts planned to have the housing built and available for employees by the beginning of the 2023-24 ski season, but due to the council’s decision, that plan will more than likely be impossible. The town of Vail and Vail Resorts have agreed to discuss partnerships and alternative locations for the affordable employee housing, but the company will continue to fight to build on the blocked property.
I’ve had a hard time deciding where my opinion lies with this case. In the initial post I wrote back in May, I stated that I feel like the town is being a bit hypocritical, but because the town offered alternative locations for the building, they could get a pass on these actions. Now, however, I really think I’m leaning towards supporting Vail Resorts a lot more. The town is okay with large houses, airbnbs, and expansions on a prep school taking place in the area, but when Vail Resorts seeks out the ability to build affordable housing for employees, the town says. I have to say, at this point, it feels like the Town of Vail is just being incredibly biased towards the company. I won’t get way too deep with this, as I’m not a professional when it comes to property management or anything like that, but something feels off with this whole case…