The main issues in the dispute over the Booth Heights affordable housing project revolve around two issues, the safety of bighorn sheep and the need to provide more affordable housing.
A few years ago, an ugly chain link fence and barbed wire fence was installed parallel to the frontage road and Interstate 70. The rental cost of $64,000 was paid by the city. To date, none of the bighorn sheep herds have been injured or killed since the installation of the fence. The good news is that the fence worked.
I suggest that the “common sense” solution to this dilemma is to install a new architecturally designed fence 200 to 300 meters behind the building land that Vail Resorts owns and allow the company to build its 61 units affordable.
I will concede that everyone has their own definition of “common sense”, so I will explain why this approach is “common sense”.
- The bighorn sheep would be safe in the future, and the herd could also use the unbuildable acres for grazing. This land would be designated open land in perpetuity.
- The City of Vail would save $12 million in public funds. These saved funds could be used to fund other affordable housing projects in the city or in Eagle County.
- Vail Resorts would build 61 new affordable units at no cost to Vail ratepayers.
- The city of Vail would get rid of the ugly fence on the frontage road.
- The relationship between the City of Vail and Vail Resorts would be improved with a new spirit of communication, compromise and common sense in place.