Can Minturn stop ski resort project? | AspenTimes.com

Can Minturn stop ski resort project?

Steve LynnVail correspondentAspen, CO Colorado

MINTURN, Colo. If development of a private ski resort is defeated May 20 by Minturn voters, that doesnt mean Ginn Resorts plans to build on Battle Mountain are dead.Were going to go away, lick our wounds for a few days, regroup and come back again, Bobby Ginn, chief executive officer of Ginn Resorts, said in an interview last week. Im not sure where well come back, but well come back.We plan to develop the mountain.Ginn wants to build 1,700 homes and condominiums, a private ski resort and up to two 18-hole golf courses on and around Battle Mountain, south of downtown Minturn, a small town southwest of Vail. Minturn Town Council members took a major step toward approving the development when they unanimously voted to include Ginns 4,300 acres into the town of Minturn on Feb. 27.Residents will vote Tuesday on whether or not to uphold the council’s decision.If residents vote no on the annexation of Ginns land into Minturn, Ginn Resorts has several options. It could reapply for annexation in Minturn, or it could go to Red Cliff, the town south of Minturn, or make a deal with Eagle County.Annexation into Red CliffRed Cliff, whose boundaries border Ginns property, has made it pretty clear the town would annex Ginns property if Minturn didn’t, Minturn Town Councilman Tom Sullivan said when he voted for the project.Tom Henderson, a member of Red Cliffs Board of Trustees, said Red Cliff would entertain Ginns application for annexation into the town, but thats pure speculation.Youve got to look at what people are offering and see what youd do, Henderson said. You know, its a tough one.Ginn has not told Red Cliff what it will do if Minturn residents vote down the project, he said.If you want me to say, Well jump on it, no, Henderson said. Were going to wait and see what happens.Red Cliff residents face the prospect of being surrounded by the town of Minturn if that towns leaders decide to include into Minturn an additional 1,000 acres of land owned by the Ginn Development Co. that borders Red Cliff.Minturn council members have considered sharing with Red Cliff the revenue generated by Ginns development, but Minturn has the first shot at annexing that 1,000 acres.Henderson thinks Red Cliff still could annex that 1,000 acres.You cant say that it wont happen, Henderson said. Its not a done deal.Dealing with Eagle CountyEven though the Ginn Development Co. owns the property, it may only build one home per 35 acres under state zoning laws.But since Ginn wanted to build more than that, the company had two options: negotiate with Eagle County or negotiate and annex its land into a nearby town, said county Commissioner Peter Runyon, whose district includes Minturn and Red Cliff.Runyon, who said he has to remain neutral by law, declined to say what steps the county would take if Ginns proposal failed in Minturn.Its inappropriate for me to prejudge, Runyon said.Runyon guessed that Ginn would submit to the county a planned unit development, which the company has done in Minturn. That means Ginn theoretically could ask permission from the county to build its current development.If so, the county would heavily involve Minturn and Red Cliff, Runyon said.We would work collaboratively, he said.Minturn to vote yes?Deliberation on where Ginn will go and whether it would get the same deal may prove irrelevant.Minturn residents will probably vote to approve Ginn, said Fred Haslee, treasurer for Minturn Citizens for Annexation, a committee that has urged residents to vote yes in the referendum.Thats just my speculation based on some of the research Ive done, Haslee said.Members of the group have gone door-to-door to talk to residents about the development.Frank Lorenti, who gathered signatures on the petition that put the annexation to a vote, said the vote will be close, but residents will deny Ginn.A lot of people said they would vote no, but they didn’t want to sign their name on the petition, Lorenti said. Issues such as Ginns mine waste clean-up plan need work before Ginn builds, he said. Ginn has invested too much money in Minturn to go anywhere else, so the clean-up needs to be figured out first, he said.Haslee has never asked Ginn what it will do if its development fails in Minturn, but he thinks it eventually will happen no matter which way residents vote.So if Red Cliff had the chance to approve Ginn, for example, the developments traffic will still go through Minturn, Haslee said.All the impact would be to the town of Minturn, he said. slynn@vaildaily.com


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