Annual Community Meeting
The Annual Community Meeting was held at 5 p.m. on March 28, 2023 at Donovan Pavilion.
Click here to see the photo gallery from the meeting.
Back to Better: Vail’s 2022 Year in Review
As the world transitioned to new post-pandemic realities, the Town of Vail’s resiliency continued to shine. Careful planning and thoughtful decision-making allowed the town to further its progress on top priorities while being mindful of an uncertain economy.
The town’s many accomplishments in 2022 were highlighted in its commitment to four priority areas: Community, Environment, Experience and Economy. A sharp focus on caring for Vail’s heart and soul - its people and its wildlife - was evident in the activities of the Town Council, staff and members of the greater community as outlined below.
Residences at Main Vail
The town celebrated the topping off at the Residences at Main Vail, which will include 72 new homes for locals right in the heart of Vail. The rental development is 100% deed-restricted with a mix of one- and two-bedroom homes and will welcome residents in the fall of 2023.
Following several public meetings and presentations, a preferred site plan for the redevelopment of Timber Ridge was selected in November which will increase the property’s current 98 deed-restricted homes to 284 deed-restricted homes. Groundbreaking is scheduled to occur in spring of 2024.
In December 2022, the Vail Town Council unanimously approved a resolution amending the Vail Land Use Plan to redesignate the West Middle Creek parcel to from Open Space to High-Density Residential. A subsequent rezoning of the parcel cleared the way for yet another housing development in town and close to jobs.
In filing for a petition in condemnation for the Booth Heights parcel in East Vail, the Vail Town Council demonstrated its commitment to preserving the native homes of resident wildlife while also creating homes for people. Town officials remain hopeful a mutually agreeable solution that provides needed housing while also protecting the Vail bighorn sheep herd, the last remaining native herd in Colorado, can be found in partnership with Vail Resorts.
The third year of the Vail Social saw over 700 friends and neighbors celebrating Vail’s unique spirit with a community potluck in the village core. Participants outdid themselves with elaborately themed food, decorations and costumes ranging from silly to sophisticated.
Also of Note:
West Vail Master Plan Implementation - With the adoption of the West Vail Master Plan at the end of 2021, staff began the implementation of the many goals and recommendations of the plan. The first step is the creation of West Vail Multiple-Family 1 & 2 zone districts.
Digital Archives Initiative - The number of digital resources in the Vail Public Library’s online collection continued to grow in 2022. The collection includes recorded oral history narratives, oral history transcripts, scanned photographs and documents, in addition to researched narrative descriptions and historical essays. In 2022, the library continued its contract to digitize the Vail Trail with partners at the Colorado State Library and the Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection. The Vail Trail is currently digitized from October 1965 through July 1992, and its contents are fully searchable. The digitization of the Vail Trail will continue in 2023, with the expectation that the project will be completed no later than 2024.
Recognizing that native vegetation is crucial to aquatic health, new stream corridor protections were put in place during the year. The Vail Town Council approved a 10-foot “no-mow-zone” along streams and creeks in Vail to restore and protect riparian habitat, and changed the required building setbacks from waterways from a centerline-based setback to a 25-foot setback from the two-year flood line.
The first summer of Shift Bike, the regional electric bike share program, launched in June 2022 with 90 bikes parked at 20 stations throughout Vail, EagleVail and Avon. The program was intended to provide a flexible, micro-mobility transportation solution for shorter commutes, encouraging residents and employees to “shift their ride” by getting out of their vehicles and commuting by e-bike instead. The inaugural season ran from June 7 through Oct. 31, 2022 with 7,393 trips taken for a total of 21,735.4 miles and a reduction of 8.68 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of 1,000 gallons of gasoline. Shift Bike will be back for summer 2023 and will expand into Edwards.
Adoption of New Building Codes
In July, the Town Council adopted the 2021 International Code Council building codes. Included in these codes were enhancements to the International Energy Conservation Code. These stretch codes were the result of collaboration between the Eagle County Climate Action Collaborative, the Environmental Sustainability Department, the Chief Building Official, and the Town of Vail Buildings and Fire Codes Appeals Board. The additional code measures include requirements for electric vehicle charging, electric-ready buildings, and solar-ready provisions to ensure that renewable energy can be easily added in the future.
Also of Note:
Stream Bank Restoration – The Town of Vail partnered with the Lodges at Timber Creek in September to complete the most ambitious stream bank restoration project accomplished on private property since the Restore the Gore Program began. The project was made possible with funds from Project Re-Wild, a public-private cost share to restore streambanks and riparian habitat in Vail. The Timber Creek project restored nearly 300 feet of eroded streambank with the help of boulders, woody debris, and 85 native trees and shrubs.
Booth Creek Fuels Reduction Project - The environmental assessment for the Booth Creek Fuels Reduction project was completed in late 2022. The project consists of a combination of forest thinning and prescribed fire over 5,100 acres of USFS land. It is expected that a Record of Decision will be issued in early 2023, with potential fieldwork beginning in late 2023.
Waste Diversion – The Town of Vail achieved a 35% recycling rate, ranking third in the state for combined residential and commercial recycling rates. Several programs that supported this goal include recycling education and increased enforcement, two Hard to Recycle events offered to community members, the West Vail curbside compost pilot program, business compost pilot program, business recycling challenge and increased diversion from zero waste events. Town of Vail and Walking Mountains Science Center were also recognized by Recycle Colorado for the most Outstanding Waste Diversion program in the state for their continued partnership to move waste diversion initiatives and education forward.
The Town of Vail experienced a remarkable year of revenue collections in 2022. Across all funds, revenues totaled $101.9 million. Excluding large, one-time grants and capital reimbursements, 2022 revenues totaled $95.8 million, up $13.4 million from 2021. Compared to prior year, revenues were up mainly due to general sales tax collections of $40.8 million, up 18% or $6.3 million from 2021.
Net expenditures for 2022 totaled $96.7 million, compared to $182.6 million budgeted. Of the $85.9 million variance, $69.1 million was re-appropriated for multi-year capital projects already underway. The remaining $15.4 million was a result of savings from capital projects, town-wide staffing vacancies reduced event spending, fewer health insurance claims ($1.4M), and reduced general operating expenditures such as professional fees, general supplies and materials, programs, and fuel and vehicle supplies.
Healthy reserves were maintained across all town funds in 2022, including a General Fund balance of $53.9 million. Staying within reserve targets ensures the town’s ability to weather any potential economic uncertainty and to invest in new opportunities that further the town’s priorities. Looking ahead to 2023, reserves will be spent down as many large cash funded capital projects are completed.
Vail saw strong community support at the polls for housing once again, with the passage of a ballot initiative to allow the town to retain collections over and above first-year projections for its housing sales tax. The tax generated nearly $5 million in 2022, with those funds already being put to use.
Also of Note:
Vail's Stewardship Roadmap - Efforts specifically focused on steps to take over the next 10 years to ensure the town’s tourism economy continues to thrive while preserving its natural environment culminated in Vail’s Stewardship Roadmap, expected to be adopted in 2023. The Roadmap also introduced a new concept: "Community-Positive Tourism,” which recognizes that for tourism to thrive, the community must thrive, too.
Special Events Funding Model Restructure - The Town Council approved changes in its special events funding model resulting in a streamlined application process for all event producers requesting sponsorship; improved alignment between event sponsorship request and the goals of the town; tangible valuation calculations for special event sponsorships based on industry standards; and greater oversight to the revamped Committee on Special Events of all events, not just those recommended by the committee.
A decades long effort to improve the ambiance in Vail Village by removing delivery vehicles from pedestrian areas came to fruition in 2022. In its first full winter of implementation, the E-Vail Courier Loading & Delivery program was able to redirect approximately 140 truck trips from the pedestrian area of Vail Village to underground delivery docks, resulting in a safer, cleaner and much more enjoyable walking environment for all.
Voters were highly supportive of the formation of a new Regional Transportation Authority, which passed in November and will bring improved transit service and coordinated bus schedules throughout the county. Helping residents and guests travel up and down the valley efficiently and keeping cars off the road will address the transportation, mobility, workforce and climate needs of Vail and the Eagle Valley.
A big change in Vail’s parking program came with a few speed bumps, but ultimately produced the desired results. At the end of March 2023, frontage road parking days were reduced from 53 days at that point in the 2021-22 winter season to 27 days so far in the 2022-23 season. The town will continue to review and refine the plan with the help of a community-based parking task force.
Four sculptures gifted from the collection of Vicki and Kent Logan were installed during the summer of 2022. This significant gift further expanded the breadth, diversity and scope of the Town of Vail’s growing public art collection.
Also of Note:
Go Vail 2045 – The town kicked off its GO Vail 2045 Mobility and Transportation Master Plan, a two-year effort to integrate all aspects of mobility in Vail into a single plan that will chart a path for how people and goods will move into, out of, and around the community.
Russell Forrest Selected as Vail’s Town Manager
In the fall, the town welcomed back a familiar face when Russell Forrest was named as its ninth town manager since Vail’s incorporation in 1966. Forrest had previously served as the town’s community development director before accepting the town manager position in Snowmass Village in 2007. His experience in additional roles as assistant county manager in Gunnison County and most recently, town manager for the City of Gunnison, inspired confidence from the Vail Town Council that Forrest would be an excellent fit for the organization.
2022 Trailblazer Award Recipient Terry Minger
Thought leader and visionary Terrell “Terry” Minger was selected as the 2022 Vail Trailblazer Award recipient presented by the Vail Town Council. Minger served as Vail’s Town Manager from 1969 to 1979 and was responsible for laying the groundwork for Vail’s most enduring qualities during an era that transformed an evolving village with dirt streets into a master planned community with qualities that have stood the test of time.
Suzanne Silverthorn Retirement
When Communications Director and renowned leader at the Town of Vail Suzanne Silverthorn retired in October 2022, she had just reached 29 years of service in her role. Her career spanned not only great change locally but globally with vast technological leaps in communications as well as our everyday lives. She was regarded not only in Eagle County but across Colorado for her quiet and steady presence as a dedicated leader whose depth of knowledge was balanced by a warm sense of humor. She consistently sought new ways to reach constituents, gain their feedback and provide transparency into local government. She served as a mentor to town managers, council members and colleagues.