VAIL, Colo. (CBS4)– After more than six hours of testimony, no vote was taken Monday evening on the proposed Booth Heights planned development. The development is proposed on a site that is also home to bighorn sheep that winter range in East Vail.
The Planning and Environmental Commission listened, for the fourth time, to the developer, Triumph Development and dozens of experts and neighbors speak about the pros and cons of this project. They tabled the vote until the Aug. 24 meeting. Every seat in the council chambers was full and an overflow area was set up in the hallway with a TV monitor.
Developer Michael O’Connor presented a Wildlife Mitigation Plan and Environmental Impact Report following three weeks of work with biologists and Parks and Wildlife managers. That plan was reviewed by town planning staff who recommend approving the project. But the concerns over wildlife habitat brought an army of local residents who don’t think the proposed mitigation will be enough.
Developers have also said they will chip in $100,000 to create a town-wide wildlife habit restoration fund. Details as to who would operate that were unclear.
The Wildlife Mitigation Plan presented includes enhancements on both the development parcel and the adjacent 17.9-acre Natural Area Preservation parcel. The Development Plan also includes a mitigation plan for the rockfall hazards in the vicinity, including construction of a rockfall berm to the uphill of the new development.
Vail Resorts currently owns the land. If the development is approved they would sell to Triumph Development to build the Booth Heights Neighborhood.
They want to construct 73 residential units, including 42 units of deed-restricted employee housing, 19 deed-restricted townhomes and 12 unrestricted townhomes. Vail Resorts would have a long-term lease on most of the employee housing units for their workers.
But there’s a big problem- big horn sheep already call this area home.
It’s their winter range and for months very vocal opponents to this plan have been speaking up against it.