County has some ideas for Gilman development
EAGLE COUNTY” The Eagle County Board of Commissioners are not-so-secretly hoping for an invitation from Minturn to provide some input on the future of 5,300 acres south of town.
Developer Bobby Ginn presented plans last week that would convert his property, which includes the abandoned mining town of Gilman, into an exclusive golf course and ski resort. Minturn’s leaders voted unanimously to begin the process of bringing Ginn’s property into the town limits, stating they wanted control over the project.
Without annexation, Ginn would have to seek approval for his project from the county commissioners.
While County Commissioners Arn Menconi and Peter Runyon say they support Minturn’s decision to begin annexation, they still think the rest of Eagle County should have some say in the project.
“We are not as Balkanized as we used to be,” Runyon said. “What happens in Vail affects Minturn, affects Edwards ….”
The commissioners plan to meet with Minturn’s Town Council next week to discuss Ginn’s plans. But Runyon and Menconi also said during a meeting Tuesday they were worried about how the county’s interest in the project will be perceived.
“Either way, we are going to get ourselves in trouble,” Menconi said. “We’re either perceived as laissez-faire or as a big brother.”
Commissioner Tom Stone was absent from the meeting.
Minturn, a town of 1,300 with an annual budget of about $1.3 million, already has been warned Ginn may try to “shop around” between the town and the county for the easiest place to get his project approved ” an accusation Ginn publicly denied during last week’s council meeting.
Still, there have been comparisons to the Village at Avon project west of Avon in which, some believe, Avon gave up too much leeway to the developer because it feared he would seek approval from the county instead.
Even the county commissioners are concerned that Minturn leaders may have that impression.
“We definitely don’t want to sell Minturn down the river,” Runyon said. “We want to tell them that we are on their side.”
Menconi said he has two goals for the meeting with Minturn: to dispel rumors that the county wants control of the project and to encourage Minturn to invite countywide input.
“I would hate to see the rumor mill create a situation where the town and the county cannot find levels of working together,” Menconi said.
Runyon said he worried the town may not have the staff or expertise to review Ginn’s project. Ginn already has verbally agreed to provide Minturn with enough money to hire additional consultants to review his plans.
Runyon suggested that the county’s staff could help Minturn. While Ginn said his plans for the property are “very preliminary,” some local residents have already been critical.
Elk and deer travel through the property, and some of it still is contaminated with mining waste.
And Ginn’s developments ” which call for several hundred homes ” are too big, Menconi said, “as I would think most of the people I represent would agree.”
Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or email@example.com.