A letter to the Vail Town Council regarding Booth Heights

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Submitted via email: commdev@vailgov.com and towncouncil@vailgov.com

Dear Members of the Vail Planning & Environmental Commission and the Vail Town Council:

The Beaver Creek Economic Advisory Council is comprised of mountain resort, residential property, lodging and commercial owners/operators within the Beaver Creek community. As you will note from the names below, several of us operate local businesses in both Beaver Creek and the Town of Vail.

With economic development our obvious focus, several years ago we decided to incorporate a dialogue within our monthly meetings around the severe workforce housing shortage we are undergoing throughout Eagle County. We have stayed informed with presentations from Eagle County and the Vail Valley Partnership.

In reviewing the plans currently before you for Triumph Development’s proposed locals’ housing project in East Vail, we would like to lend our support and emphasize that in light of the severe shortage of housing for our workforce, the East Vail development offers a pragmatic, locals’ housing solution in offering rental units as well as deed-restricted for-sale townhomes.

We have discussed our alarming disappointment to the “not in my backyard” protest to this project. Beaver Creek and Bachelor Gulch have for many years included workforce housing as part of our neighborhood with buildings (about 800 beds) at our entry point. We’re proud that many of our employees are able to live adjacent to their employment. Living at this location allows employees to utilize village transportation both to and from their jobs and minimizes their commute time.  The units are affordable and have transit options. We also all co-exist with our valued wildlife. There is zero awareness of any negative effect to property values in Beaver Creek or Bachelor Gulch due to embracing workforce housing in our neighborhood.

According to the Vail Valley Partnership’s 2017-18 Workforce Survey Report, 78 percent of businesses said in 2017-18 that housing had a negative effect on the ability to attract, hire and retain employees, declining substantially from the previous year and was also at an all-time low. Specific comments from the survey include:

This is a problem for new employees. Many times we are able to retain them when they are in our employee housing but then we lose them if they need to move out. It is a desire of many employees to live closer to where they work and to live in the community they work.

For those who have lived here long enough to have stable housing, it is not an easy. For those who have recently moved here, rent, or have changes in housing circumstances, housing is a major source of frustration that ultimately forces employees to ask if they really belong here and want to belong here. We are losing one person that experienced housing frustrations and may be losing a second because the options aren’t great and what people are asking for rentals is ridiculous.

Current housing prices are difficult for young associates to purchase. Rentals were difficult for associates to find in the middle of peak season.

The short answer is no, they can’t. Most can usually find it (often couch surfing or room sharing), but it diminishes their quality of life because of the cost and environment. We do lose some employees due to lack of decent available housing.

Moving way out side of work areas to find affordable. Or living with multiple people to survive. The conditions that some people are renting out are hidden and inexcusable.

Causes other major costs with vehicle expenses. We offer a very progressive and comprehensive housing program to help employees find long term solutions for housing. That being said, it is still very difficult for employees to find affordable housing on the free market if they are looking to own.

We have a very young workforce that are primarily renters. They need to find multiple roommates that they potentially have never met just to stay in this area.

Thus, in this time of great need for housing, please approve the very thorough and carefully planned Booth Heights project, as well as the reasonable wildlife mitigation plan. Beaver Creek values our workforce, and we know Vail does, too.
The Beaver Creek Economic Advisory Council:
Bob Boselli, Brian Nolan, Jeff Luker, Nadia Guerriero, Jen Brown, John
Shipp, Phil Metz, Peter Dann, Bill MacFarlane, Don Bird, Jeff Forbes, Mike
Friery, Steven Janicek, Jim Fraser, Duncan Horner, Mike Trueblood, Herb Rackliff