Close up of flight path shows impact upon some of the many surrounding properties along the South Frontage Road from proposed VVMC Helipad.

Vail Homeowners Association Advisory
VVMC Helipad Update
November 21, 2014
In This Issue
VVMC Master Plan-VHA Analysis of Flight Paths & Helicopter Pad Locations
VVMC Helipad Proposal
Supporting Infrastructure Critical to Public Safety
PEC Public Hearing on VVMC Master Plan on Monday, November 24th
VVMC Master Plan - VHA Analysis of Flight Paths and Helicopter Pad Locations 

The accompanying graphics depict a comparison of helicopter flight path configurations (shown in yellow, green and blue) for the existing CDOT helipad and that which is proposed for the VVMC campus.  The VVMC proposal would overfly the Red Sandstone School and many developed properties with occupied commercial and residential structures.  VVMC proposes to limit the intrusion of structures into their proposed flight path. The existing CDOT helipad and flight path, favored by VHA, significantly limits the severity and extent that VVMC bound helicopters would overfly, thereby reducing the public safety risk to occupied commercial and residential properties. 

East & West Flight Paths from proposed VVMC Heliport - Helicopter flight paths overfly Sandstone School and many other occupied properties along the North and South Frontage Roads.

The difference between the two helipad locations has a significant implication for affected property owners.  A year ago, the Vail Homeowners Association (VHA) and adjacent property owners, out of increasing concern for public safety, negotiated with VVMC helicopter operators to use the Interstate 70 corridor for the flight paths to access the CDOT helipad.  As Federal Aviation standards became known, it was evident that the safest location throughout the community for a helipad was in the current CDOT location shown below.

East & West Flight Paths from existing CDOT Heliport - Paths overflies the fewest properties. The exception is the Vail Municipal Complex, which has been in the flight paths for the past several decades and would be similarly impacted by either helipad location.


VVMC Helipad Proposal


The proposed relocation of the CDOT heliport to the planned VVMC location on the northern edge of their campus requires the helipad to be built on the roof of a 75 foot tower building in order to minimize its flight path conflict with existing and adjacent properties. Even then, it is the intent of VVMC's proposal to place height restrictions and perhaps other limitations upon structures and properties, which they do not own, that are located in their proposed flight path. This, some believe, would be appropriating property rights, without compensation.


The VVMC Tower helipad location would also have the effect of radiating industrial level landing and takeoff noise to a much larger area than is the case with the existing CDOT helipad. Additionally, the design of the helipad provides minimal public safety protection to residents and passersby should there be a crash on the pad. Instances of pad crashes have occurred in other locations in the United States.


A consultant's report evaluating the VVMC Helipad proposal was prepared on behalf of neighboring property owners. The report confirmed public safety concerns that their properties could be adversely impacted by the VVMC proposal, more so than leaving the helipad in the present CDOT location. Further, that the VVMC's analysis does not include additional public safety concerns about their proposed flight path raised by the neighborhood's consultant. 


Proposed VVMC Helipad 75' Tower Building
Supporting Infrastructure Critical to Public Safety

To eliminate the time lost in making ambulance transfer of VVMC patients to the CDOT helipad, VHA has proposed a pedestrian tunnel or sky bridge be built between the CDOT helipad and the VVMC master planned relocation of its new emergency care facility to be located on the east side of its campus. This would reduce the transfer time to the CDOT helipad to a negligible difference.


The Town of Vail could incorporate the CDOT helipad into its plan to build a 160 - 325 space public parking structure on the municipal building site. The number of proposed parking spaces will generate enough people so that, in the interest of public safety, it will require a separated pedestrian crossing on the South Frontage Road for the public using the parking structure. This improvement along with a new South Frontage Road roundabout with truck ramp to remove all VVMC traffic from Vail Road and West Meadow Drive, and other improvements noted in the graphic below will enhance the public safety and environmental compatibility of the Vail Valley Medical Center with the surrounding residential neighborhoods.

The designated improvements in the graphic above are suggested as appropriate public and private investments to ensure that the Vail Valley Medical Center is compatible with the residential qualities of the West Meadow Drive and other impacted neighborhoods. It is the desire of VHA and the affected neighborhoods that appropriate investments are made to sustain the viability of the Medical Center in the Vail community for decades to come.TIF Funds are collected by the Town of Vail on new private construction, such as EverVail or a redevelopment of the Evergreen Hotel/Condominiums, based upon the increase in valuation that results.  They are a significant source of the TOV's finances for capital improvements.  While TIF is collected on private projects, municipal and not-for-profit projects are not subject to TIF so there will be no TIF generated by the VVMC expansion.  The planned Simba Run Underpass, budgeted at $20.8 million, is already standing in line for funding.  It also seems likely that TIF funding will be required for the TOV's portion of the VVMC expansion and possibly also for the Gore Creek clean-up.  With VRI also seeking TIF rebates for the parking garage construction in its project, there may not be enough funds to cover all of these projects.


PEC Public Hearing on VVMC Master Plan on Monday, November 24th        


There will be a public hearing on the VVMC Master plan Monday, November 24th. The meeting will be held in the Vail Town Council Chambers at 12:30 pm. The VVMC Master Plan is the second item on the agenda. Interested parties are encouraged to attend.


The final hearing for the VVMC Master Plan is expected to occur on January 12, 2015, see the press release from the TOV Community Development Department below:

75 South Frontage Road West                                                                                                       Community Development Department

Vail, Colorado  81657                                                                                                                                                               970.479.2138                                                                                                                                                                         970.479.2452 fax


November 17, 2014



VVMC Master Plan Interested Parties-


The applicant, the Vail Valley Medical Center, submitted a draft master plan to the Town of Vail Community Development Department on November 14th. The draft plan was submitted in anticipation of a final hearing on the Plan by the Town's Planning & Environmental Commission on Monday, November 24th.


At the recommendation of the Commission, the applicant has been meeting with their adjacent property owner, the Evergreen Lodge, to discuss opportunities for exchanging land. The purpose of a possible land exchange would be to further improve upon addressing the issues identified by the Master Plan. All parties continue to meet and negotiate in good faith. However, the process of understanding the implications of a land exchange and the complexities of the negotiations take time.


The Town staff is recommending the Commission does not take final action on the Master Plan on the 24th. Instead, we are recommending that the Commission tables the final hearing until January 12, 2015 after discussion. This action will allow the applicant to 1) share information on possible changes to the emergency helicopter flight path design and hear from the Town's helipad consultant, 2) provide the Commission with an update on a possible land exchange, and 3) address the need to separate the west wing expansion development application from the Master Plan review process. As presently contemplated, the applicant would have waited to submit their development application for the west wing expansion after the Master Plan review had been completed. Separating the two applications allows the applicant and adjacent property owner time to negotiate a land trade and the staff to concurrently review the two applications.


I apologize for any inconvenience this change in schedule may cause. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me by telephone at (970) 376-2675 or by email.




George Ruther, AICP

Director of Community Development

Town of Vail 


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