Ginn studies at odds |

Ginn studies at odds

Vail Daily Editorial
Vail CO, Colorado

A wide gap yawns between projections of traffic, housing needs and the number of employees needed to run the private ski and golf community that the Ginn Co. proposes to build at Bolts Lake and Battle Mountain.

Eagle County, which to our observations so far is fairly hostile to the project, has put forward three studies by Boulder-based RRC Associates that are wildly at odds with Ginn’s studies.

Each points a finger at the other’s report, essentially calling it nutty.

How can a huge development ” which includes a ski resort, golf course, relatively giant hotel and 1,700 housing units ” contribute so little extra traffic to Highway 24 through Minturn that nothing needs to be done to that narrow road to accommodate the increase in traffic, as Ginn’s consultant claims? And how can the biggest and only significant new development between Leadville and Minturn only add a trickle to the traffic gains to come with time?

How does a private ski and golf community need a Vail-sized work force, as a county planner claims?

If Ginn seems to be downplaying the burdens their project will bring, and we think they are, they will be held to their projections. For instance, they have committed to housing 40 percent of their permanent work force, whatever the number turns out to be. It’s in their interest to be accurate.

Their traffic projects must pass the Colorado Department of Transportation’s muster, and they will be mandated to improve the road through town to accommodate the true traffic if their projections are off.

In other words, they have a real stake in their numbers, not only for making their case with the public and the decision-makers, but for the very viability of their project. We can be skeptical about their claims of less impact than would seem to quite make sense, and we are. But their bottom line is also firmly attached to their projections. As mentioned, the county leaders appear hostile to the development that, private or public, will have a large effect beyond the borders of little Minturn.

Ginn officials almost shake with indignation at the county’s projections, and they appear to have good cause. The county insists on looking at Ginn’s plans as if they were for a public resort, like Vail or Beaver Creek. But that’s not at all the case here. The ski hill will only be open to Ginn’s customers and probably residents of tiny Minturn. There will be no big crowds on powder days. No lift lines, ever. It’s just not that kind of place. And the concept is not exactly difficult to understand.

Ginn might be downplaying their impact on Minturn. But the county’s projections amount to lies at worst and willful misunderstanding of the difference between a Vail and a Yellowstone Club at best.

Either way, the county leaders have a responsibility to judge the project on what it really is ” and not use fundamentally flawed studies as a scare tactic.

” Don Rogers for the Editorial Board

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