Wildlife official: Resort project could work | AspenTimes.com

Wildlife official: Resort project could work

Steve LynnVail correspondentAspen, CO Colorado

MINTURN, Colo. The Ginn Development Co. could build a private ski resort south of Minturn with little harm to wildlife, a state wildlife official said Wednesday night. “I think this can be done with very minimal impact,” said Bill Andree, district wildlife manager for the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Echoing previous statements, Andree said the environmental report Ginn submitted to the Minturn Planning and Zoning Commission lacked sound conclusions. However, Ginn could satisfy the Division of Wildlife by making some changes to its plan, he said. Andree wants to discuss with Ginn problems such as the layout and height of buildings, now positioned on the property such that they would decrease the population of elk and maybe peregrine falcons, too, he said. The Bolts Lake condominiums – which could rise to 150-foot tall – would kill peregrine falcons that might fly into their windows, he said. Nor would the golf course and ski area provide adequate winter habitat for elk, as Ginn has contended, he said. Ginn failed to include an analysis in its environmental report of its impact on river otters and mink, which have proliferated since the Eagle Mine has been partly cleaned, he said. Ginn’s report lacks an explanation of an explanation on how the development’s roads would decrease elk habitat, he said. Andree wants to work closely with Ginn, he said. “The best way is to sit down and look at a map and say this is the worst place to put a house, this is the best place,” he said. Commissioners listened intently, took notes and asked questions. Ginn representatives needed to discuss ways of lessening the development’s impact with Andree, said Woody Woodruff, chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission. Ginn representatives had met with Andree only once, Andree said. Bill Weber, senior vice president for Ginn, agreed with some of Andree’s concerns, though not with others, he said. Still, Weber acknowledged that the company needed to work more with the Division of Wildlife. The Division of Wildlife has analyzed the Ginn’s project’s impact on wildlife for commissioners, but it has no authority to approve or deny the project. Commissioners will make that decision. Ginn wants to build 1,700 homes and condominiums, a private ski resort and a golf course on more than 5,300 acres south of Minturn.

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