Private ski resort gets its first OK | VailDaily.com

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Private ski resort gets its first OK

NWS Ginn meeting1 KA 02-20-08

MINTURN, Colorado ” A proposed private ski resort received unanimous preliminary approval from Minturn town councilors Wednesday night after 21⁄2 years of meetings.

The vote is not final. Town councilors must vote a second time to annex the Ginn Development Co.’s more than 4,300 acres into the town of Minturn.

Ginn wants to build 1,700 homes and condominiums, a private ski resort and a golf course on and around Battle Mountain, south of Minturn.

Town councilors will not give residents the chance to vote on the annexation, said Gary Suiter, Minturn’s interim town manager. To have a referendum of Minturn residents, a petition with signatures from about 80 registered Minturn voters must be submitted to the town.

Town councilors voted with some reservation after a disagreement on how residents on Ginn’s property would be taxed and how that revenue would be used to make improvements to Minturn, such as a recreation center and a bike path.

Town councilors said they had asked Ginn to agree that the revenue for those kind of improvements in Minturn would flow into the town forever in case Ginn’s projections of its tax revenue to the town turned out too be not enough.

Ginn did not want to commit to giving the town that money forever but agreed that Minturn should get a guaranteed amount of revenue for a certain amount of time, said Bill Weber, Ginn senior vice president.

Minturn and Ginn attorneys were told to work out an agreement before the next vote, scheduled for Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.

The conflict left some uncertainty as to whether councilors would vote the same way next week.

“I want to make sure everything’s funded,” Councilman Tom Sullivan said.

Cliff Thompson, director of communications for Ginn, said he hoped the difference would be resolved.

“Until there’s an agreement, it’s not a done deal,” Thompson said. “It’s still under negotiations. That’s all.”

Town Councilwoman Kelly Brinkerhoff asked town councilors to wait until the next hearing to explain their votes to Minturn residents.

“I think it would be best to hold off lengthy explanations,” she said.

Minturn resident Kelly Toon, who has attended some of the Town Council meetings, said he trusted the councilors’ decision.

And if the annexation finally is approved, town councilors will be able to have some say on what Ginn’s property looks like in the end, Toon said.

“Minturn still has a chance to change and manipulate it,” he said.

Town councilors will vote again, probably later this year, to finally approve or deny the project, Suiter said.

Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or slynn@vaildaily.com.