AVON, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Beaver Creek Property Owners Association (BCPOA) and the Greystone Condominium Association have filed a lawsuit against Vail Resorts (NYSE: MTN) to prevent the construction of an amusement park complex planned for the mountain facing Beaver Creek Village and within close proximity to residential neighborhoods.
“We believe an amusement park complex is not appropriate for a setting like Beaver Creek, where the rides will permanently scar the face of the mountain and alter the character and beauty of this valley for both residents and visitors,” said Tim Maher, President of the BCPOA board of directors. “The amusement park rides would be a distance of less than two football fields from the closest homes and well within sight and earshot of many homeowners’ bedroom windows.”
Scarring the Land
The new amusement rides proposed at this point include a roller coaster operated year-round, a ropes challenge course/zip line, a summer tubing hill and an operations building to support the roller coaster. The roller coaster would run on a one-half mile long steel track, also requiring the installation of 2,000 feet of safety fencing and nearly 3,000 feet (10 football fields) of structural metal (see attached to scale rendering). The BCPOA feels that in addition to marring the view of almost every home with a mountain view in the valley, the proximity of the roller coaster to homes would generate year-round noise given its capacity of accommodating up to 500 riders per hour.
“Most people would agree an amusement park is not a good fit and very off-brand for Beaver Creek, which Vail Resorts markets as a premiere, world-class resort,” said Barry Parker, Vice President of the BCPOA Board. “The roller coaster proposed at Beaver Creek would be the only installation of its kind this close to residential areas in any U.S. mountain resort. The vast majority of coasters in the U.S. are installed at amusement parks or water parks, not luxury resorts.”
"Based on our review of the plans, construction of an amusement park complex at Beaver Creek would also result in significant environmental damage, including the removal of 350 mature aspen trees for the roller coaster alone,” said Parker. Vail Resorts’ landscape plan only calls for replacing those trees with 92 significantly smaller trees.
“This environmental damage is a direct contradiction to Vail Resorts’ stated core philosophy that their resorts operate in some of the world’s greatest natural environments, and they are compelled to care for and preserve them,” said Parker.
The 50-foot tall high ropes challenge course would be built directly over a wetland area and stream that feeds into the Eagle and Colorado Rivers. Vail Resorts has not yet obtained permits from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Colorado Open Lands, a private, non-profit land conservation and land trust organization, holds the conservation easement for the land on which Vail Resorts plans to build the amusement park complex.
“Building an amusement park is incongruent with this organization’s mission of open space preservation,” said Parker. Additionally, the location of the amusement park complex would bisect a popular nature trail used by thousands of hikers, bikers and snowshoe enthusiasts.
“We want to work amicably with Vail Resorts, however, our environmental, visual, noise and economic concerns have been repeatedly ignored,” Maher said. “Vail Resorts is not living up to their own stated values of being aligned with communities and the natural environment. Conversations between the BCPOA board and Vail Resorts led to no resolution of the issue.”
The last opportunity to administratively protest the plan was unsuccessful when the Beaver Creek Design Review board approved Vail Resorts plan in a 3-2 vote on August 21, 2013 after months of opposition expressed by the BCPOA.
The BCPOA and Greystone jointly filed a lawsuit in the Eagle County District Court. The Associations’ lawsuit contends that Vail Resorts has not honored prior agreements made with the BCPOA and 11 homeowners associations in Beaver Creek, is violating government regulations (including those pertaining to wetlands), and is also in violation of its own governing documents for Beaver Creek. Additionally, property owners are contending that because of close proximity to homes, the amusement park will be a nuisance to neighbors. The lawsuit also asserts Vail Resorts has misrepresented/concealed its plans from neighbors, has instigated civil conspiracy and violated the Colorado Consumer Protection Act.
“The neighbors are distrustful of Vail Resorts, a corporation that has a pattern of deception with us. When Vail Resorts built the Children's Ski School and the Buckaroo Express Gondola for improved access, the BCPOA was very supportive, with certain restrictions on summertime operation of the Gondola, which operates very close to a number of private residences. Thereafter, unbeknownst to the community, a food service entity of VR acquired a liquor license for the Children's Ski School by identifying it in the application only as ‘The Ranch.’ Earlier this year an application was submitted to the county to amend that license allowing a very large expansion of the Children's Ski School deck. This prompted neighbors to ask, ‘Why does a children's ski school need a liquor license?’ It's all part of their plan to sell alcohol to amusement park complex guests - a master plan that Vail Resorts has never shared with their neighbors," Parker said.
A roller coaster is not the first amusement ride the BCPOA has opposed. In 2007, the property owners filed a lawsuit against Vail Resorts to stop an alpine slide from being built in the same area within full view of many residential neighborhoods. The lawsuit filed to stop the alpine slide had been “on hold” in District Court with the agreement of all parties since the project was abandoned. By the recent court action, the property owners have reactivated that litigation and added new complaints.
“This is a classic case of David vs. Goliath – we are fighting the most powerful and influential corporation in Eagle County. They are a billion dollar company; we are private homeowners having to fight this with our own personal money – but we are committed to doing it because we want to protect the beauty and character of Beaver Creek and the natural environment,” Maher concluded.
Beaver Creek Property Owners Association (BCPOA)
Founded in 1990, the BCPOA represents interests of Beaver Creek property owners to protect the quality of life and property values in the community. The association has approximately 715 property owner households as members.