West Vail parking nixed
August 26, 2008
VAIL, Colo. ” A controversial plan for more parking in Vail was killed Monday amid neighbors’ objections.
Vail’s Planning and Environmental Commission rejected a proposal to create a temporary, 240-car parking at the town-owned Chamonix land in West Vail.
“I think this is a monumentally bad idea,” said David Viele, a commissioner, calling into question the judgment of the town’s leaders.
Viele said it didn’t fit into the neighborhood. The commission voted to deny the request, 4-2, with Commissioners Susie Tjossem and Michael Kurz voting against.
The Town Council could choose to “call up” the proposal to its meeting and overturn the commission’s ruling.
The gravel parking lot was planned to exist for one or two years as the town readied to redevelop the empty lot into an affordable housing-fire station complex. The land is above the West Vail Shell.
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The Chamonix temporary lot is a key piece of a stopgap plan that creates 400 temporary parking spaces around Vail next winter to alleviate parking problems that plagued the town last year.
Last winter, cars filled up the town’s municipal parking garages 48 times, forcing cars onto the frontage roads. The town tries to limit that number to 15 days, citing safety concerns.
Neighbors objected to the Chamonix project, saying it would be unsightly, cause traffic and obstruct buses. They also wondered whether the parking lot would stay there permanently.
“It’s going to be as ugly as can be,” said Bob Armour, a West Vail resident.
Armour suggested using parking at Donovan Park and Stephens Park instead. He also cited other parking spaces at private projects such as the Arrabelle at Vail Square.
“I think it was the correct decision to make for this project,” Armour said after the vote. “The neighbors were very concerned about the addition of 240 cars to the West Vail roundabout.”
Michael Norton, director of the Vail Chamber and Business Association, spoke in support of the parking lot.
“We need the spaces,” he said. “(Businesses) only have a certain window to get the revenue.”