Another update on the town’s efforts to explore an alternative path to the approved Booth Heights development in East Vail will be presented to the Vail Town Council during its afternoon meeting on Tuesday, June 2. The item is listed as 1.4 on the meeting agenda which begins at 3 p.m. in the Vail Town Council Chambers with social distancing protocols in place. The meeting will be live streamed at www.highfivemedia.org/live-five.
Tuesday’s presentation by the town’s housing director follows an update that occurred at the May 19 meeting in which 11 possible housing site scenarios were referenced and analyzed with a series of recommended actions and next steps. This has included exploring the feasibility of building deed-restricted homes on town-owned property east of Middle Creek at Vail Apartments. This option would require finding a new space for the Children’s Garden of Learning facility which currently occupies a portion of the site.
Initial discussions have taken place with the Vail Recreation District to evaluate the prospect of relocating the early childhood education program to a new facility by renovating and expanding the town-owned Vail Gymnastics Center. A feasibility study has been prepared by Pierce/Austin Architects and RA Nelson that explores how the center could potentially be expanded to accommodate gymnastics and early childhood education within a 12,000 square foot multi-use facility. The town has also convened a working group of technical experts and primary stakeholders with representation from Children’s Garden of Learning, Red Sandstone Elementary School and Vail Recreation District, which operates the gymnastics center, to explore the campus concept more fully, including state childcare facility licensing requirements and other operational considerations.
During Tuesday’s review, the Town Council will be asked to consider retaining additional consulting services to study the multi-purpose scenario in more detail. Identified services include legal, surveying, pre-construction, traffic, design/architecture, civil engineering, code compliance, life/safety, state licensing and structural design.
Also to be reviewed is a staff recommendation to draft a memorandum of understanding between the town, Vail Resorts and Triumph Development that would serve as a non-binding agreement between the parties allowing each to act in good faith in pursuing an alternate approach to the Booth Heights development. This includes identifying partnership opportunities for Vail Resorts to provide housing for a minimum of 144 people, as has been approved for the Booth Heights development by November 2022, and an opportunity for the town to manage future land use on Booth Heights while implementing large-scale fuels reduction and wildlife habitat enhancements in East Vail in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.
The staff memo for Tuesday’s discussion includes two detailed timelines for implementation, one of which identifies late 2022 to achieve housing on the Lot 3, Middle Creek site. While a second timeline offers a less aggressive schedule, both schedules include: wildfire fuels reduction and wildlife habitat restoration permitting and implementation; renovations at Vail Gymnastics Center to accommodate early childhood education; construction of housing on Lot 3, Middle Creek; and a future redevelopment of the western half of Timber Ridge Village Apartments.
The Booth Heights alternatives are included in a 5-year strategic action plan that has been drafted to achieve the town’s goal of acquiring a net increase of more than 450 new deed restrictions by the year 2025 while pursuing wildfire fuels reduction and bighorn sheep habitat improvements in East Vail. The draft strategic action plan identifies public-private partnerships on 8 sites and outlines 7 steps for implementation. The draft plan will be considered for adoption by the Town Council at a future meeting.
Earlier in the afternoon, the Vail Local Housing Authority will present its 2020 semi-annual update to Town Council which will include progress reports on the Vail InDEED program and other activities in support of the Town Council’s housing goals. The item is listed as 1.3 on the meeting agenda.
To review the staff memo on the Booth Heights development alternatives and other agenda items for the June 2 meeting, visit www.vailgov.com/agendas. Public comment will be accepted via email until noon on June 2 at firstname.lastname@example.org.