Roommate limits cut into Vail housing |

Roommate limits cut into Vail housing

Edward Stoner
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

VAIL ” Vail Resorts can’t cram so many people into Timber Ridge, Vail’s largest affordable-housing complex, town officials said.

“We’re concerned about overuse,” said Stan Zemler, Vail’s town manager.

Each apartment leased by businesses should only hold three people next winter, the Timber Ridge Affordable Housing Corporation board decided last week.

Most of the Vail Resorts-leased apartments ” where hundreds of mountain workers lived last winter ” held four people last season.

The new directive could mean a lot fewer workers in the 198-unit town-owned complex next winter, cutting into Vail Resorts’ housing stock.

Town officials are concerned about wearing out the complex, which was built in 1981 and needs millions of dollars in repairs over the next decade to remain inhabitable. Also, the town wants to make sure costs such as sewer and water fees aren’t so high it will lose money.

“Those units were primarily designed for three people,” said Dick Cleveland, mayor of Vail. “When you increase occupancy by 30 percent in those units, you increase wear and tear on the units, the load on the sewer system and water usage.”

Cleveland called the occupancy limits “prudent.”

“We have an asset we need to preserve,” he said.

Over the last few years, the town of Vail has struggled to provide enough worker housing as redevelopment creates more and more jobs and area home prices rise.

Lift operators, snowcat drivers and other employees at Vail Mountain live at the 10-acre Timber Ridge. Vail Resorts, which operates Vail Mountain, is the town’s largest employer. Ski company officials said in 2006 that the mountain employs 1,700 seasonal workers. The ski company leased 159 of the 198 apartments for its employees last winter.

Vail Mountain provided employees with 648 beds in 2006-07, most of which was at Timber Ridge.