We always come together'

Vail town council candidate questionnaire - Farrow Hitt

Daily Staff Report
October 25, 2005

1. Why are you running for Vail Town Council?

I enjoy it. I feel as though I have made a positive contribution and would like to continue. I would like to see the projects I voted for completed and a few others that did not make it this time around.

2. What are the biggest issues facing Vail right now?

Completing the "New Dawn" projects

Pine beetle kill

New ski portal area planning just west of Lionshead

West Vail master planning


3. What are Vail's greatest strengths and weaknesses?

Vail's greatest strengths are the people who make up the community and the abundance of recreational and cultural opportunities we offer. Oh, and location. I love it here so I don't see any weaknesses, only challenges we need to overcome such as limited space, limited parking, high cost of living and the pine beetles killing off our trees.

4. What is your position on the proposed conference center? Why?

It is up to the voters now so my position is if it passes we need to see that it is not value-engineered into something different than what was approved and that it is operated effectively and efficiently as possible. As a decision-maker I feel that it has financial risk to the town and having seen the projections I only hope the assumptions included in the studies are correct. If the voters believe this to be the best thing for the town then we will have a conference center and as a councilman I will see that it is completed. If it doesn't pass we will need to decide what to do with the taxes already collected. Either way we have a challenge ahead.

5. The planning commission unanimously endorsed a plan for redevelopment of the Crossroads complex in Vail Village earlier this year. Do you support that plan, and, if not, what specific changes would have to be made to this plan to make it acceptable?

I supported the last plan that came through to council from the Planning and Environmental Commission.

6. Redevelopment is under way in Vail Village and Lionshead, and major redevelopment is planned in West Vail and West Lionshead. How would you seek to influence this development?

I want to ensure that any development offers something that enhances our community and not just a fat check for the developer. We should not be in a build-anything-it's-OK mode. With the potential of a new portal west of Lionshead, we need to look carefully at how it may impact our town and work to tie it in with what is already here. We will need to see that it is not all residential and end up being a private ski lift portal at the expense of our commercial businesses that have long resided in that area. Time, energy and planning - not unlike the Lionshead redevelopment plans - will be what is necessary to create a successful project that benefits our entire community, creating a vibrant atmosphere and synergy for that area.

7. This year's community survey shows residents said parking is the top issue facing the town. How would you deal with this issue?

I would encourage any new projects to include a parking plan over and above the minimum requirements, as is so often the case. If a ski portal is indeed coming to West Lionshead, I would imagine we would incorporate a plan addressing this that may finally provide adequate parking. At this point in time I would consider additional parking a public benefit that could be considered as projects are submitted to the town.

8. Does Vail need to be more welcoming to middle-class families? If yes, how?

I feel Vail is welcoming to everyone. Some can afford to make Vail their home more easily than others though. When we purchase buy-downs or perhaps get a chance to build additional affordable accommodations I strongly believe it should be two- or three-bedroom units that are for sale so to encourage that middle-class family that seemed to have been be skipped over. Vail has done a great job of securing seasonal housing for workers but there are financial hurdles to overcome when addressing larger family opportunities. There are no easy answers but there exists a willingness on council to keep plugging at the shortages.

9. Ask and answer your own question that will help voters decide how to vote.

Do you feel Vail, as has recently been suggested, is at a crossroads between old school and new school, and where do you see it going at the end of the day?

That may be a fair statement with a ring of truth to it but this town is more sophisticated and complex for such a simplistic statement. As with anything, time creates change. The mountains, forest, faces, etc. Vail is not immune when it comes to time. Ideas change and what once was great to one seems tired to another. What was once charming to some now seems outdated to others. It is a difference of opinion. That is all. Time will do just that.

What makes this town the greatest is, when necessary, we always come together as a community and resolve differences. We solve our problems and take care of others in need. We always seem to rise to the greater good. Everyone is aware emotions have run high for the proposed conference center and for the now-withdrawn Crossroads redevelopment plan. It is precisely what helped pin this old versus new on the latest spin but it won't be pinned on our town. Vail is better than that. A better understanding of the old school and the same courtesy extended to the new school will no doubt result in a better Vail. More discussions will take place. A compromise will be reached. It is time tested.

Vail, Colorado