Busting our zoning for Ginn
Florida developer Bobby Ginn has not yet made his specific development plans available to the public – or to the town of Minturn – but a January annexation impact report” prepared for the town by Carter-Burgess of Denver gives us a glimpse how elite and massive his project will be. In considering the following information from the report (page references noted below), please bear in mind that Ginn is asking us to change our zoning on land that is currently zoned for approximately 150 homes and caretaker units. At full build-out, Ginn is proposing 500 single-family homes (page 5) on 500 building lots, mostly on the 10,000-10,900 feet summit of Battle Mountain. The Ginn Company, and I quote, “Expects average lot prices near $2 million (per lot), with resulting single family units near $5 million” per home (Exhibit 1, page 5). YES, $5 MILLION PER HOME! That constitutes roughly $1 billion in lot sales, and $2.5 billion in single family home value! Project “residents and visitors could travel to the site via helicopter, gondola, or other non-auto means” (Exhibit 1, page 9). “However, some will choose the more traditional (automobile) mode.” Helicopter access to their homes? What will that do to noise levels in and around Minturn, the Holy Cross Wilderness, and Vail’s Back Bowls? IN ADDITION to the 500 single family homes, Ginn wants 830 condominium units (page 5 and Exhibit 1), mostly located in the Bolt’s Lake area on the outskirts of Minturn. Curiously, the condo units are estimated to have a “capacity” of only 2.5 residents each. Who’s going to buy a condo that sleeps only 2.5 people? I think it’s misleading. IN ADDITION, Ginn is proposing 370 one-bedroom “suites” (page 5), which will be available in a rental pool. A “time share” hotel for Ginn’s club members. IN ADDITION, there will be 60,000 square feet of commercial space. IN ADDITION, the development will include ski lifts, ski trails, a golf course, or maybe two, maintenance facilities, service buildings, restaurants, shops and other facilities not yet identified. Total units equal 1700, or roughly 12 times the current zoning and master plan density. All private, gated, and closed to the public! The project is proposed to be built-out over a period of 20 years (page 5). Full build-out should occur somewhere around 2030, if Ginn doesn’t turn dirt for several more years. That’s two decades of construction traffic in Minturn! And how’s Ginn going to build his project without significantly widening Highway 24 through Minturn, and condemning land and homes of ordinary people in the process? I guess if he’s selling $2.5 billion in single family homes alone, not to mention an additional 830 condo, and 370 one bedroom suites, he figures he can throw his money around to get whatever he wants. The project will require a “combined potable and non-potable” water supply of 153,367,294 gallons per year (page 6) and generate 72,065,200 gallons of wastewater. To get his water, Ginn may attempt to annex into the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District. He may not have enough water without doing that. Could that mean that all of us might have to share in (i.e., pay for) some of the costs the district might incur to find new water to accommodate Ginn’s project? The project will require 850 new workers to service it, a 2 percent increase in the Eagle Valley’s population to service his club. According to the report, “This population may impact the Eagle County School District.” Not to mention affordable housing (page 10). Stunningly, the report states that the total project capacity will be just 4,204 people. (Exhibit 1, page 5). That’s based on an estimate of just three people per single family home, 2.5 per condo, and 1.7 per one bedroom suite. Frankly, I can’t imagine someone building an average $5 million home that sleeps only three people. Or buying a condo that sleeps only 2.5! My best guess is that the project will have 8,000-10,000 beds at full build-out. In my opinion, Ginn is deliberately understating the number of people his project will accommodate in order to project traffic increases that are less than will actually occur. Lastly, the report states that the town of Minturn “most likely will require that the project development plan considers and respects the smalltown character and way of life that currently exists in Minturn” (page 10).That statement is the most intriguing of all. How do you maintain your “way of life” through two decades of construction and dramatically increased traffic? How do you preserve smalltown environment by adding 8,000-10,000 beds? And lastly, how do you preserve any sort of “smalltown character” by adding 500 homes with an average value of $5 million each, and helicopter access to the homes?The Ginn annexation impact report is available from Eagle County, or can be reviewed in the Minturn Town offices. It is also posted at http://www.friendsofbattlemountain.org, the Web site of the citizens group that that has been formed to try and stop Mr. Ginn or at least limit his elitist development to a somewhat reasonable size. Final note: Because Ginn has not yet given Minturn a site specific development or land-use plan, Minturn has delayed further consideration of his annexation proposal until Sept. 6. However, Minturn may hold land-use and other hearings this summer, IF Ginn gives them something more to consider than the sketchy land use details he has thus far provided. Andy Wiessner is a local conservation activist and public lands consultant who lives in Vail. He can be contacted at email@example.com, or 476-6136.Vail, Colorado
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