Minturn braces for big development
An unnamed developer is reportedly close to buying a portion of 6,000 acres surrounding Gilman and portions of the defunct Eagle Mine south of Minturn.That possibility, and previous confidential conversations between developers and Eagle County, prompted outgoing county commissioner and Minturn resident Mike Gallagher last week to urge the Minturn Town Council to take steps now to ensure the town can deal with any large-scale development. The land south of Minturn adjoins the town boundary, but is neither part of the town nor incorporated. Council members discussed the possibility that up to 500 new homes could be build on the property, which encompasses the Bolts Lake area and portions of the hillside at the base of Battle Mountain.The potential for large-scale development in Minturn makes the recent dustup over an RV park look like a bar fight compared to the heavyweight title bout that could be fought over construction in Gilman. Earlier this month, the RV park was rejected by Minturn voters, many of whom said they didnt want their small town of 1,100 to change.Much of the 6,000 acres around the Gilman area and the mine are tied up in an legal dispute between Turkey Creek, LLC and Vail Resorts over a failed development plan on which the companies had worked. Vail Resorts became ensnared in the Blue Sky Basin expansion and did not pursue the Gilman development once eyed as another base village and entrance to Vail Mountain.Turkey Creek successfully sued Vail Resorts in district court. Vail Resorts appealed and a new trial is expected to begin next year.The potential Gilman developer met with Minturn officials Monday, Town Manager Ann Capela said. But on advice of legal counsel, Capela declined to disclose the particulars of the meeting. She did say the town needs to be concerned about increased traffic, water supplies and sewer capacity. The question is who will be impacted the most, said Capela. The question is the infrastructure issue. They would have to come to Minturn for potable water unless they want to build their own water plant.The development has the potential to create additional housing that could be like another town, Capela said. The developer has created a number of resort-related properties and has discussed using Gilmans mining heritage as a theme for the land south of town.The property was part of the Eagle Mine that was sold to Canon City businessman Glenn Miller in 1983 by then-owner Gulf & Western. Miller declared bankruptcy two years later and the property eventually ended up in the hands of his two attorneys, Mike Page and Jim Aronstein, who formed Turkey Creek LLC and in 1999 teamed up with Vail Resorts to try and develop the property.The potential development of the Gilman land and of 43.7 acres south of town the U.S. Forest Service wants to sell means Minturn will need plans to deal with additional people and demands for service, Capela said.There also are a number of environmental problems on the Gilman land that have been monitored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The land is riddled with mine shafts and tailings from nearly 100 years of mining.
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