1. WHO OWNS THE PARKING LOT?
The Arrowhead skier parking lot (“ Parking Lot”) is owned by the Arrowhead Metropolitan District (“Metro District”).
2. WHAT IS THE METRO DISTRICT?
The Metro District is a quasi-municipal corporation and political subdivision of the State of Colorado and correspondingly a tax free entity. The Metro District has the power to assess property taxes and provide certain basic municipal services. Your annual taxes include an assessment from the Metro District. The Metro Board currently consists of five members who all must be residents of Arrowhead and Eagle County. The Board solicits for and screens prospective new members from the community. The prospective new member must then be publicly elected.
3. WHAT DOES THE METRO DISTRICT DO?
In Arrowhead, the Metro District owns the skier parking lot, playground, roads, bridges, culverts, piping, drainage systems and certain of the common landscaping areas. In general, the Metro District maintains and repairs these facilities as well as providing for the Arrowhead internal shuttles and those to Beaver Creek and to Vail. The Metro District and the AVA shared in the cost of the improvements to the playground and restrooms. In order to better coordinate actions for the Arrowhead community, a member of the AVA and a member of the Metro District Board each attend the other entities meetings.
4. WHEN DID THE METRO DISTRICT ACQUIRE THE PARKING LOT?
The Parking lot was acquired from a subsidiary of Vail/Arrowhead Inc, a subsidiary of Vail Associates (“Vail”) on October 13, 2009 for a purchase price of $8,500,000 and with associated improvements, closing and other costs, the total was $8,705,576.03
5. HOW DID THE METRO DISTRICT PAY FOR THE PARKING LOT?
The Metro District issued tax free municipal bonds in the total principal amount of $10,950,000 in 2009, of which $8,876,187 was used for the acquisition and improvement of the parking lot. The bonds will be paid off in 2032. The current average annual debt service on the portion of the bonds used to acquire the parking lot is $637,900. At current values, the Metro District must levy 7.18 mills to pay this debt service which equates to $571 in annual property taxes per $1,000,000 of assessed valuation for your home. The bonds are not redeemable by the Metro District until December 2019. Including debt service, the Metro District’s total mill rate is 18.5, one of the lowest rates in the Vail valley.
6. WHY DID THE METRO DISTRICT BUY THE PARKING LOT?
Vail was initially proposing to develop the Parking Lot with 113 residential units which would have represented a significant increase in the density within Arrowhead and entail 2-3 years of construction disruption within the community. Also, there was a concern that there was already so much development in the Valley including Arrowhead and that this development could negatively impact property values. The majority of owners within Arrowhead at the time wanted to avoid this development.
7. WERE OTHER OPTIONS EXPLORED?
The Arrowhead at Vail Association, Inc. (“AVA”) was negotiating with Vail to reduce the amount of density and the scope of development for the proposed project as well as negotiating additional benefits for the community. The Parking Lot was zoned for the development of 200 units. In the final discussions between AVA and Vail, the unit density had been reduced from 113 units to 80 units and Vail had agreed to certain undertakings to minimize the disruption during the construction period. During this period, the Metro District was also exploring the option of acquiring the Parking Lot through condemnation.
8. WHO APPROVED PURCHASING THE PARKING LOT?
The AVA held an advisory election by sending information and ballots on the acquisition to all 729 owners. 469 ballots were returned and 351(75%) voted to acquire the Parking Lot and 118 (25%) voted against it. The Metro District then held a vote on whether to acquire the parking Lot. Only owners registered to vote in Eagle County and living in Arrowhead were eligible to vote in this election. There were 182 ballots returned with 110 (60%) voting for acquisition and 72 (40%) voting against it.
9. WHY CAN’T THE METRO DISTRICT CHARGE FOR PARKING?
The deed from Vail to the Metro District has a specific restriction which requires that the Metro District provide 246 spaces of free parking. The Metro District and the AVA have had ongoing discussions with Beaver Creek to allow the Metro District to charge for parking as Beaver Creek has just started doing at its skier parking lots on Route 6. The Metro District has presented Beaver Creek with a proposal to accomplish this goal and is awaiting a response. However, Beaver Creek has said that it will not be possible to install necessary infrastructure to allow charging until the 2017/18 ski season.
10. CAN THE AVA DO ANYTHING ELSE TO RESTRICT PUBLIC ACCESS TO THE PARKING LOT?
The AVA was not a party to the purchase of the Parking Lot and may have options which are not available to the Metro District. The AVA Board is currently reviewing these options with its attorney.
11. CAN THE PARKING LOT BE SOLD OR DEVELOPED?
It is possible to sell or develop the Parking Lot provided that the required number of public parking spaces are provided both during and after completion of any development. This would entail development of an underground or above ground parking structure.