The Vail Valley Medical Center (VVMC) is currently in the process of seeking a new Master Facility Plan for its Vail campus from the Town of Vail (TOV). Everyone agrees that improving medical facilities is desirable in Vail and the Vail Homeowners Association supports improved medical service to the community. At the present pace, plans could be presented to the TOV Planning Commission and the Town Council in the next few months, possibly even before the Council elections in November. There is concern that the VVMC is proceeding to develop plans without the availability of appropriate studies. VHA, in conjunction with affected property owners, has formed a steering committee to address the following issues.
The VVMC and Town of Vail are considering rolling back a compromise agreement made last fall with neighborhood property owners. At that time, the agreement stated that the Steadman Medical Office Building (MOB) was to be built on the western portion of the Town of Vail Municipal Building Site. Plans had been drawn and were substantially accepted by the Town of Vail. Unfortunately, the proposal for the Steadman MOB was withdrawn. Consequently, the discussion on how the properties are going to be used has been reopened.
The Steadman MOB compromise agreement included the construction of a new roundabout on the South Frontage Road giving access to both the TOV municipal complex and VVMC main campus sites. The roundabout, along with other access improvements, would allow for the removal of all VVMC vehicular traffic from Vail Road and West Meadow Drive. Secondly, the community's emergency heliport was to remain north of the South Frontage Road, out of the residential neighborhoods, and would have been located on the roof of the Steadman Medical Office Building. In addition, an enclosed pedestrian bridge was to be built over the South Frontage Road linking the new VVMC Steadman facilities on the TOV site to the VVMC main campus, which would allow for both VVMC and public pedestrian use. These improvements remain an acceptable compromise to neighborhood property owners and the Vail Homeowners Association. We hope that they will be included in a well-thought-out plan as the VVMC and the TOV mutually consider the future development of facilities on their respective sites.
In their latest public information sessions, the VVMC plans called for:
- Redevelopment of the US Bank site with the relocation of emergency services to that site.This would remove emergency vehicles, but not other VVMC traffic, from Vail Road and West Meadow Drive.
- Zoning changes for the US Bank location to allow expanded VVMC uses.
- Relocation of the TOV Helipad to the top of the new building to be built on the US Bank site. There is no provision for other, non-medical helicopter access to the TOV.
- All VVMC medical facilities would be located to the south of the South Frontage Road on the present VVMC Vail Campus adjoining residential properties; it is not known if there will be any VVMC use of the Town of Vail municipal site.
The reason for this notice is that the Vail Homeowners Association and the constituent neighborhoods are concerned about how the VVMC facilities are best integrated into the Vail community with respect to the following:
- Traffic Safety: Access for other recent developments (Four Seasons, Solaris, etc.) has been required to be via the South Frontage Road. Existing traffic studies show that continued VVMC access via Vail Road and West Meadow Drive, even for just non-emergency purposes, is not prudent.
- Helipad Safety Issues: The safety of TOV Helipad services both medical and general (i.e., dignitary, national security, etc.) access is involved. Placing a helipad on the VVMC campus creates safety issues for the surrounding neighborhoods; it also impedes general and non-medical emergency helicopter access to Vail.
As stated above, the new proposed plans apparently do not include the agreements previously reached during the consideration of the Steadman MOB VVMC/TOV proposal, which fully address neighborhood concerns. Those agreements which the neighborhood continues to support include:
- Requiring all access to the VVMC facilities from the South Frontage Road via a new roundabout which would remove all VVMC vehicular traffic from Vail Road and West Meadow Drive.
- Maintaining the TOV Heliport in its present (or an adjacent) location north of the South Frontage Road, keeping it out of the residential neighborhoods.
- In the event of VVMC use of the TOV municipal site through some private VVMC/TOV partnership, an enclosed pedestrian bridge over the South Frontage Road would be necessary.
The Vail Homeowners Association suggests that comprehensive collaborative meetings be initiated between VVMC, Steadman, TOV and VHA. Concerned parties, individual property owners and the leadership of affected Condominium Associations should contact the Vail Homeowners Association at [email protected] to be included in communications and decision making processes on this matter.