“If Vail Resorts were a good citizen of the community, they would do a fair deal with you.”– Betsy Kiel, local resident who apparently doesn’t understand why rich people live in the city.
Last week, Vail Resorts filed a legal complaint against the City of Vail over its fierce resistance to the Vail Ski Resort wanting to build an employee housing unit in East Vail. As for how the locals feel about the situation, at least a few of them support the city council.
Vail Daily reports that many locals came out to support the city council against Vail Resorts at a meeting on Tuesday. One person said Vail Resorts had fifty-six years to build worker housing and do nothing about it, and another called the ski resort’s reasoning “a bunch of crap. A resident suggested that the council vote on sending a referendum to the town’s voters. Another person said the city should use the amount raised from real estate transfer taxes (1% for each transaction) to purchase the property from Vail Resorts and then condemn it to ensure no one builds on the land.
These residents, and the recent actions of the Vail City Council, prove that NIMBYism (Not in My Backyard) is alive and well. Many million-dollar houses exist in the winter sheep range, and some even exist in the winter sheep concentration area. The proposed worker housing site barely enters the winter range, as it is very close to the I-70 Frontage road.
Plus, Vail Resorts worked with a bighorn sheep expert to make sure they got the project done right. I usually don’t side with Vail Resorts, but it’s clear that City Council supporters are wealthy folks complaining about the realities of life in the mountain town. Vail is one of the biggest ski resorts in the country, and it needs big accommodations for its employees more than ever. If the city really cared, it would stop construction of the new homes being built in this area of East Vail. It’s a wealthy town run by millionaires and billionaires, with a lack of awareness that it takes employees to run a ski resort. When there is a lack of workers/affordable housing, you have fewer lots, elevators, restaurants, and hotels open, resulting in a poor customer experience.
This is ultimately one of the few battles I hope Vail Resorts will win.Picture credits: Vail Ski Resort, Katie Musial