'No weaknesses, only opportunities'

Vail Town Council candidate questionnaire - Ludwig Kurz

Daily Staff Report
October 26, 2005

1. Why are you running for Vail Town Council?

Many of my supporters and I believe that I contributed positively to the town while I was on council for eight years, the last four of which I was appointed as mayor by the council. I have the energy and desire to serve again and help shape the future of our community.

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

Balancing development and redevelopment with real or perceived standards and values, and within existing guidelines, rules and regulations.

Pine beetle infestation.

Potential polarization between "old-timer and newcomer," "wealthy and not so wealthy," "hanging on to the past versus let's change everything." I strongly believe this type of attitude stymies productive dialogue, wastes time and energy, and has the potential to stagnate progress on a number of fronts.

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


Vail Mountain and Vail Resorts Inc.'s commitment to keep it the best.

Vail's people, both locals and second-home owners. Our client base.

The natural setting, combined with (most of) the built environment.

Many more.

No weaknesses, only opportunities:

Proximity to increasingly busier I-70. Long-term solution: Tunnels.

Aging infrastructure, lodging and commercial inventory. Opportunities: allow for appropriate incentives to support redevelopment.

Visual blight and wildfire problem due to pine beetle infestation. Opportunity: Consider biomass plant for energy production.

Lack of exciting retail mix.

Some more, they all can and need to be addressed.

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

I am in support of the ballot issue, based on my belief that the additional lodging tax, collected from our guests, will cover operating costs. I further believe that with this additional funding source in place, the benefits of the conference center far outweigh any potential risk. The conference center will complement all of the development and redevelopment taking place at this time, and some still in the planning stages.

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 am in favor of redevelopment of aged, tired and unsightly properties. I believe there comes a time when "another coat of paint" or "a new facade" doesn't do it anymore. Some buildings need to be "scraped off," Crossroads being one of them. As presented, I would have had difficulty approving the project, based on a number of factors. If elected, I would work diligently to arrive at compromises to accommodate the development plans and still maintain the integrity and values of the neighborhood and greater Vail.

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?

Lionshead: The Lionshead Redevelopment Master Plan was adopted by council a number of years ago and serves as a good guide to development standards, and I would continue to support that plan.

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

While mayor, I was a member of the Vail Parking Task Force for four years. This group is made up of members of council, town staff members, representatives of Vail Resorts Inc., merchants and citizens' representatives. Over time we developed a number of initiatives to help ease the parking problems, without solving it to the satisfaction of everyone. We need to find space and funding to provide for 600 to 800 more parking spaces, either at grade or structured.

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

Over the past few years the town of Vail, at times on its own, other times with partners, developed and sold deed-restricted affordable housing to middle and lower income families. We need to continue this effort, as it is the single-most effective way to retain middle-class families in town and attract others to return to Vail. Further, I believe that retaining or attracting middle-class families to Vail is largely a market issue and is also driven by wants, needs and desires.

Vail, Colorado