Appeal affects Minturn annexations |

Appeal affects Minturn annexations

MINTURN, Colorado – An appeals court has ordered Minturn to vacate certain annexations for the Battle Mountain project.

The Aug. 19 Colorado Court of Appeals decision was made on an appeal filed by the Sensible Housing Corporation.

The decision also suspends the Battle Mountain developer’s ability to annex additional lands pending the outcome of litigation over the land’s title, said Minturn Town Manager Jim White.

Town councilman Earle Bidez said the court challenge applies to anywhere from 12 to 1,700 acres, depending on how one interprets the legal documents. Minturn’s annexation agreement with the Battle Mountain developers covers about 4,300 acres altogether, developers have said previously.

In November 2005, the Ginn Co. submitted to Minturn petitions for annexation of nine parcels of land in Eagle County that included some disputed properties. Following Minturn’s annexation of the disputed properties, Sensible Housing filed suit in Eagle County District Court, alleging that Minturn exceeded its jurisdiction and abused its discretion by approving annexation when title to the disputed properties was being litigated.

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In 2009, the district court dismissed the case. However, it was determined by the Court of Appeals that an error had been made by the District Court.

The case was remanded with directions to return the matter to Minturn to vacate those annexation ordinances related to the disputed properties and to stay annexation proceedings pending the outcome of the title litigation over the disputed properties, White said.

Bidez said he expects the court decision to further delay the Battle Mountain project, although he wasn’t sure by how much.

Cliff Thompson, a spokesman for Battle Mountain developer, declined to speculate on whether the court case will delay the project.

“We received the order, we’re reviewing it, and at this time there’s no further comment,” he said.

While legal teams are determining strategies, including an appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court, preparation for the trial in the Water Court planned in October continues, White said.

The Ginn Co. dropped out of the project last year. Representatives from Crave Real Estate, the Canada-based company that has taken over the project, recently announced they removed the golf course, hotel and two-thirds of the commercial space from designs for Battle Mountain.

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