Minturn rallies for ski resort vote
Aspen, CO Colorado
MINTURN, Colo. ” Voters drop by Frank Lorenti’s home or he drives to theirs if they want to sign the petition to vote on a proposed private ski resort.
If Lorenti cannot be reached on his home phone, residents should call his cell phone because he may be out gathering signatures, his voicemail message says.
Even with two young children and a business to run, Lorenti has been on call day and night since Thursday to gather signatures that eventually could decide the fate of the Ginn Development Co.’s private ski resort, golf course and 1,700 homes and condominiums planned on and around Battle Mountain, south of downtown Minturn. The small town is just southeast of Vail.
“We’re trying to make it easy for everybody because people have lives, they have jobs,” Lorenti said.
The effort has spread mostly by word-of-mouth and Lorenti has gathered “three-quarters” of the 73 signatures he needs, he said. He must turn in his petitions by 5 p.m. April 7, he said.
In a major step toward letting Ginn proceed with its plans, town councilors voted unanimously last month to make land owned by Ginn a part of Minturn. Town councilors will vote again, possibly later this year, to finally approve or deny the project.
Lorenti wants to residents to decide instead.
“A lot of us did vote in these six people but some of us didn’t,” said Lorenti, who has lived in Minturn for 15 years. “So we just don’t think it’s fair that those six should dictate to us what should be done.”
An attorney wrote the petitions, but Lorenti declined to name him. The town has approved the language in the petitions. Now Lorenti has a stack of petitions on which he wants registered Minturn voters to sign their names and write their addresses.
Once town staffers determine whether the signatures are valid, councilors could repeal the annexation ordinances, Lorenti said. Or they have 60 days to put the annexation to a public vote, which they are more likely to do, Lorenti said.
Pete Vance, a proponent of the petition, works 12 hours a day then helps Lorenti gather signatures at night and during weekends. Vance hopes to turn in the petition by Friday, but he and Lorenti may not finish gathering signatures until next week, he said.
Vance was supposed to take his son to Moab, Utah, this weekend, but won’t do it if he has to help with the petition, he said.
He thinks the town has left residents out of the process. “I feel that strongly about it,” Vance said.
Lorenti has 11 different petitions. There is one petition each for the nine pieces of Ginn’s land that councilors have included into the town of Minturn. Voters would be asked whether to repeal the annexation of each parcel.
Of the other two petitions, one calls for a vote on the mayor’s authority to sign a deal approving Ginn and the other calls for a vote on whether Ginn can use Minturn’s water, Lorenti said.
Those 11 questions would go on the ballot if Lorenti’s petition is approved.
Ken Chadwick, who has lived in Minturn his whole life, said he signed the petitions because he thinks residents’ opinions should be heard.
“I have nothing against Ginn, but this is a big, big project,” he said.
He might vote yes. “Minturn would be better off having it for control reasons, but I don’t think it should be pushed through real fast,” he said.
Town councilors have said they have deliberated the project for almost three years and that Eagle County and Red Cliff could have made a deal with Ginn if Minturn had not. Then Minturn would have lost control over the development, they have said.