VAIL VILLAGE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC.
President - Alan Kosloff Secretary - Ellie Caulkins Treasurer - Patrick Gramm Executive Director - Jim Lamont
Directors - Judith Berkowitz - Dolph Bridgewater - Richard Conn - Bob Galvin
Ron Langley - Bill Morton - Trygve Myhren - Gene Mercy - Gretta Parks
To: Mayor Rod Slifer and Town Council
From: Jim Lamont
Date: August 1, 2005
RE: Crossroads Special Development District Application
The Vail Village Homeowners Association Board of Director considered, at their July 27, 2005 meeting, the major points of compromise concerning the proposed Crossroads at Vail Special Development District. The proposed compromises and conditions of support are articulated in the Association’s June 21, 2005 memorandum to the Vail Town Council.
It is recommended, given the magnitude of the Association’s concerns, the Crossroads proposal should not receive final approval until the principle points of compromise are agreed upon.
The following addresses the Association’s concerns as well as other matters that have a relationship to the principle points of compromise.
1. South Frontage Road: The reported “C to C minus” capacity rating for the intersection of the Crossroads Chute and South Frontage Road may be appropriate for today’s circumstances, but unable to manage projected and unforeseen future growth. We should strive at this time to attain an A or B rating as the South Frontage Road is and will remain, well into the future, the most important local transportation corridor in the community. Consigning merging automobile and truck traffic to hazardously darting across higher speed lanes or to make illegal turning maneuvers to reverse the direction of travel is imprudent or misguided, particularly, when other safer roadway configurations are readily applicable.
A planning commissioner, during the PEC public hearing, recommended the proposed Crossroads roundabout, his proposal received no objection from the Planning Commission. However, the Town Staff did not include his recommendation as a recommendation to the Town Council from the Planning Commission.
A proposal by the developer to pledge $250,000 towards the Crossroads/South Frontage Road roundabout was determined to be disingenuous. It was reported that the Town of Vail would receive the funds, but do nothing to fully fund and execute the roundabout project. In the end, the pledged funds would be returned to the developer.
It should be a priority of the Town of Vail that each intersection along the South Frontage Road from Ford Park to Cascade Village (resort Town Center) meets the highest standards of traffic circulation and safety. Projects that do not contribute their “fair share” to upgrade the South Frontage Road should not be approved.
New private development and the Town of Vail should be responsible for providing funds to upgrade all intersections to the highest capacity and safety standards practical so as to provide for future growth, anticipated and otherwise. Subsequent to Crossroads, there is no further proposed private development to provide funds to upgrade the South Frontage Road intersection adjacent to the proposed project.
The Homeowners Association has requested for several years, that a master plan be completed for the upgrading of the South Frontage Road through the resort town center. As well, we have consistently raised the issues of circulation, parking, safety, and beautification. Conflicting opinions and agendas, from public officials and otherwise, have resulted in the piecemeal documentation of traffic demands and the design of traffic engineering solutions to the detriment of the public interest and safety.
This issue is of such importance to the Association’s constituencies that we are consulting with an independent traffic engineering consulting firm to evaluate engineering solutions and related issues as a means to insure the objectivity and accountability of all interested parties. See Attachment One for questions and issues forwarded to the independent consulting firm with respect to the Crossroads proposal.
2. Public Benefits: The major provisions of the Developer Improvement Agreement (DIA) are generous to a fault in favor of the developer (see attached .pdf file). It is impossible to identify any “exaction”, in exchange for deviation in the zoning standards, which in the long-term are public benefits. Rather, there is the appearance that the DIA confers a grant of special privilege. The lack of assertiveness and consistency of standards applied by public officials to the negotiations, set precedence that potentially incurs the enmity and future resistance of those who have more onerous public benefit “exactions” required of their projects.
a. Facilities and Improvements:
i. Nearly all facilities and improvements designated as public benefits have dubious caveats attached, which exempt or release the developer from compliance after 15 years or if special circumstances occur.
ii. The developer is proposing to use his private art collection and other private commercial enterprises (movie theater and bowling alley) to increase density and height beyond those recommended by the Vail Village Master Plan.
iii. All facilities and improvements specified as public benefits should be owned and controlled by the Town of Vail in perpetuity.
b. Special Events:
i. The DIA contracts away the rights of future Crossroads residential property owners to voice concerns and participate in the overseeing of special events held in the proposed central plaza.
ii. Future Crossroads property owners should share the same rights and responsibilities to voice concerns and participate in the overseeing of the conduct of special events, as do all other adjacent property owners and members of the community.
c. Public Plaza:
i. The Vail Village Master Plan implies that a public plaza should be incorporated in the redevelopment of the site in exchange for the allowance of a 5-6-story structure to be located along the South Frontage Road. The quid pro quo exchange allows for all open space, setback, and landscaping requirements to be attained within the established zone district.
ii. Previously, approved setbacks and other variances were an acknowledgment of existing site conditions and were not to be used as precedence for the future redevelopment of the site. It was intended the future development would conform to the guidance of the master plan and established zoning standards.
iii. The public benefit value of the Public Plaza has already been offset by an increase in height to 5-6 stories over that required in the established zone district. Height was calculated based upon the average grade of the existing improvements, not from a wholly arbitrary and speculative “historic grade.”
iv. Landscaping requirements anticipate that trees and other landscaping improvements will “soften” the urban appearance of buildings and public spaces by integrating manmade improvements with the surrounding natural landscape. Massing of trees should be integrated into the Public Plaza and required setbacks.
d. Lodging and Affordable housing:
i. The Town of Vail redevelopment policies contain incentives for increasing the amount of lodging (accommodation units) and affordable housing.
ii. The developer has the right to amend the zone district for the site to permit lodging and affordable housing.
iii. The developer is proposing using existing affordable housing units purchased in the community to fulfill his affordable housing requirement, as a consequence a net increase in new affordable housing units will not be forthcoming. The developer’s actions are removing non-deed restricted (non-government controlled) housing units from the affordable housing market.
iv. The providing on-site of accommodation units and affordable housing, as has been required of other similar developments, must be a prerequisite to increasing the height and density beyond that recommended in the Vail Village Master Plan. Any increase in height must occur for that portion of the building located along the South Frontage Road.
e. Building Height and Setbacks Relative to Adjacent Properties:
i. The developer in using the adjacent property of One Willow Bridge Road and the expansion of the Sonnenalp Bavaria Haus as the comparison to justify the Crossroads building height and setbacks along Meadow Drive. Other adjacent property owners are objecting to the proposed height and setbacks in this area.
ii. The developer fails to note that the One Willow Bridge Road and Sonnenalp Bavaria Haus expansion, he points to as precedence for his proposed height deviation along Meadow Drive, throughout the entire site conforms to the height limitation for the zone district (PA) in which they are located.
iii. The Crossroads proposal as modified still remains out-of-scale with its adjacent property owners and should be further reduced in height, and setbacks increased, so that trees and other required landscaping can be incorporated onto the site.
3. Exparte Contact: The principle of exparte contact seeks to insure that elected officials do not foreclose any legitimate consideration presented by the developer, adjacent property owners, interested parties, and the general public. Any contact either prior to or after the filing of an application that causes an elected official to foreclose legitimate consideration, is a violation of the exparte principle and subject the elected officials to recusal, litigation, and other financial penalties.
a. There appears to be evidence that the developer made improper exparte contact in that certain elected and appointed officials refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the developer’s ability to file for zoning amendments to provide for lodging and affordable housing on the Crossroads site.
i. They cite that lodging and affordable housing was not allowed on the site previously and therefore cannot be considered. They can provide no other justification for allowing the proposed building to be equal to or greater than those projects that were recently approved with lodging and affordable housing included in the development plan.
ii. Such a position is counter to the rezoning process and favors the developer interests to those of goals and precedents established by the Town Council for the redevelopment of the resort town center of the Vail community.
4. Public Hearing: The enforcement by the Town Council of an arbitrary 3-minute speaking rule for all participants other than the developer and Town staff, creates circumstances that encourage exparte contact and deprives adjacent property owners and interested parties of due process.
a. The limitation creates preferential treatment for the developer and Town Staff while depriving adjacent property owners, interest parties, and the Town Council for giving full and open consideration to issues and concerns.
b. The developer and Town Staff may have their own agendas, which are not necessarily founded in policies approved and condoned by the Town Council and the community at large.
c. It is the purpose of the principle of public hearing and participation to bring to light all matters relevant to the public interest. Few issues or matters lie outside the public interest and right to know. Any effort to thwart, suppress, or intimidate the public’s rights to know and be heard is an abridgment of their constitutional and legal privileges.
5. Multi-Party Negotiations and Discussions: The Association has sought to create opportunities whereby the developer, adjacent property owners and interested parties, such as itself, can discuss and negotiate unresolved issues and points of compromise in a circumstance free of intimidation and hostility from any participant. The Association to this end requested the Town of Vail to host an on the record discussion and negotiations among the affected and interest parties, including the developer. To date from among the interested party, including the developer, other than the Association, none has sought to convene a multi-party discussion or negotiation session.
Post Office Box 238 Vail, Colorado 81658
Telephone: (970) 827-5680 Voice Mail/FAX: (970) 827-5856
VVHA Attachment One
VVHA/TOV Correspondence 8/1/05
1. Will the proposed roundabout (or a variant thereof) proposed at the Crossroads/South Frontage Road intersection adversely affect the flow of traffic between the Vail Village parking structure and the Main Vail roundabout?
2. According to the Town staff the Crossroad/South Frontage Road intersection, taking into account the proposed Crossroad development, will cause it to be rate as C or C minus. Will the proposed Crossroads roundabout improve its rating or not?
3. Will the proposed Crossroad/South Frontage Road roundabout allow for truck traffic to more easily and safely enter from the Crossroad Chute on to the South Frontage Road going either direction?
4. Are adjacent driveway accesses and turning for buses entering the Vail Transportation Center going to be adversely affected by the proposed Crossroads/South Frontage Road roundabout? If so, how can the problem to solved? What would be an appropriate alternative design or location for the roundabout? Would buses entering the South Frontage Road from the Transportation center, crossing the eastbound land, to go west towards the Main Vail Roundabout be adversely affected by the proposed roundabout?
5. Will the proposed Crossroad/South Frontage Road allow all traffic including trucks to more easily and safely "reverse flow" when coming to or from the Mail Vail roundabout, VVI, and proposed Crossroad loading and delivery structure. Is this solution safer than the "pork chop" center island design, which is currently proposed for the VVI and Crossroads? Would the same logic apply, if a similar roundabout were built near the Evergreen Lodge?
6. If in the future two new roundabout were built, one at Ford Park, another in West Lionshead (or a Cascade Village, would "interim" roundabouts at Crossroads and Evergreen/Municipal Complex become redundant, a hindrance, or an attribute to the flow of traffic along this section of the South Frontage Road corridor?
7. Are the proposed roundabout locations at the Crossroad/South Frontage Road and near the Evergreen/Vail Municipal building too close to the Mail Vail Roundabout so that they would adversely affect the rating of all or anyone of the existing or proposed roundabouts?
8. Would the Crossroads/South Frontage Road proposed roundabout ease the burden on the Vail Road/Meadow Drive intersection by creating an alternative route to and from the Vail Village commercial center?