Battle Mountain developer still eyes Meadow Mountain land swap
February 8, 2016
MINTURN — A rebranded Battle Mountain Development Co. is seeking town support on a plan in its infancy stages to build hundreds of houses in town, while preserving Meadow Mountain and land near Beaver Creek via a recreation easement.
Battle Mountain Development Co., now known as Crave Community Co., has rehashed its development plan from June, focusing closer to U.S. Highway 24 near the Martin Creek trailhead and the Bolt's Lake area south of town.
The development plan hinges on the approval of a land swap with the U.S. Forest Service, trading Battle Mountain for Meadow Mountain. But plans for that land swap won't be submitted without a letter of support from the town of Minturn first, said Tim McGuire, Colorado director of Crave Community Co.
If the land swap is eventually approved, which is a years-long process, then Crave Community Co. will still need town approval before developing.
“We heard loud and clear there is a dramatic need for year-round housing, and we also heard that Meadow Mountain should continue to be used for recreational and open space.”Tim McGuireColorado director, Crave Community Co.
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The first phase of development is intended to be near the Martin Creek trailhead on an open, flat area south of Highway 24, currently Forest Service land. The development would feature affordable housing, homes ranging from $200,000-$500,000, according to McGuire. The neighborhood would also include open areas, trailheads and community gardens.
Martin Creek is the designated starting point for development because of the town infrastructure already in place, including water. Also, the town has ideas of developing that area in the future as well, McGuire said.
The second phase of development would be the Bolt's Lake area, which the company already owns. The plan calls for the vacant lake to be filled and used as a reservoir. Development around Bolt's Lake could include a mix of a hotels, retail area, affordable housing units and second homes.
The third and final stage of development could take 15 to 20 years, McGuire said, and would be the area closest to Meadow Mountain, east of the recreational and open space area and closer to the town of Minturn yet over the ridge and out of sight.
John Rosenfeld, a member of the Minturn Town Council, said the affordable housing aspect of the project is exciting because "it could put Minturn in the driver seat as far as providing stable workforce housing through the whole development."
FOCUS ON RECREATION
It has been eight years since Crave Community Co., formerly Battle Mountain Resort, discussed building a high-end, gated community with about 10 ski lifts and a golf course on about 5,400 acres of land south of Minturn.
Since the recession and the feasibility of another upscale community diminished, the development company changed plans and presented a plan in June, which was shot down emphatically due to the public clearly stating a desire to keep Meadow Mountain as open space.
Since June, Crave Community Co. has been seeking town and county input as to what exactly the community wants.
"We heard loud and clear there is a dramatic need for year-round housing, and we also heard that Meadow Mountain should continue to be used for recreational and open space," McGuire said.
Local trails enthusiast Lee Rimel was among the supporters of Meadow Mountain as a recreational and open space area for the community. Rimel said he will also follow Crave's new concept closely as it begins to take form.
The new concept has a focus on recreation and open space, as well as keeping the trails and open space at Meadow Mountain available to recreation.
"There's some concern that the Forest Service does not have the capacity to preserve the existing recreation," said Cliff Thompson with Crave Community Co. "The Town Council were first ones to say it."
Crave Community Co. cited new limitations for snowmobiling on Meadow Mountain as an example.
"(The swap would provide) ability for the Meadow Mountain parcel to be more actively managed," McGuire said. "The Forest Service is obviously stretched very thin. They don't have the resources to actively manage a lot if these areas where recreation is happening, or even explore different recreational uses in some of these areas. If the town controlled that, they could say you know what, we want to develop that like Avon has been developed with the bike trails. You can't do that there today without a huge process with the Forest Service."
With Battle Mountain to the south and Meadow Mountain to the north, the land swap with the Forest Service would ensure that the town of Minturn is surrounded by open space, McGuire added.
"We want to share this idea with people, get their input and see if they think it's a good idea," McGuire said.
Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.