Minturn begins Gilman annexation
MINTURN – “This is huge.”Minturn resident Earl Bidez said it, but most at Wednesday night’s meeting were thinking it. Developer Bobby Ginn’s plans for the 5,300 acres he purchased south of Minturn include a private ski resort and golf course community that Ginn said will be valued at much more than $1 billion.For the first time since he purchased the mountainous property, Ginn showed Minturn’s residents what might be built on that land. In return, Minturn’s Town Council unanimously agreed to begin the process of including Ginn’s project within the town limits.Ginn did not give exact figures on the number of homes that will be built on the property. But it is clear that if and when annexation is complete, Minturn will more than double in size. “My first impression, our town will be history as we know it,” Bidez said.A challenging piece of propertyGinn’s plans – which are “very preliminary” – include a golf course and homes on the north side, near Bolts Lake and homes on the mountainous middle portion of the property that would border a ski hill.
Most of the homes will be single-family units, though some condominiums are planned, too.”This is not going to be a community of 5,000 units or something ridiculous like that,” he said. Ginn told the crowd he was first shown the property about 15 years ago. The land has a contentious history of lawsuits over ownership and environmental problems stemming from the property’s mining past. At least some of the land Ginn purchased was included in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund clean-up program. Less than 150 acres of the land still requires significant clean-up, including the abandoned mining town of Gilman, Ginn said. Ginn does plan to redevelop Gilman, but it is the last thing on his list.”We will continue to clean it up,” he said. “That will take years to do.”Many had concerns about how Ginn plans to clean-up the contaminated portions of the property. “How do you develop a golf course on an area that was a tailings pond?” asked Rob Davis, a Minturn resident.
Mayor Hawkeye Flaherty added that the EPA has said that the land near Bolts Lake could never be developed.Ginn’s company plans to lay a “membrane” on top of the tailings pond and pour dirt on top of it before building.Caroline Bradford, executive director of the Eagle River Watershed Council, asked if Ginn’s company might be willing to clean up portions of contaminated land that Ginn didn’t buy. Ginn responded by saying that could be negotiated. What’s next?The town decision to begin the process of annexing Ginn’s property is just the beginning.Ginn’s project is so large, Minturn does not have the staff or knowledge to evaluate the development, Town Manager Ann Capela said. She plans to negotiate an agreement so Ginn will pay for the extra staff Minturn will have to hire, she said.
Before Minturn can expand the town limits to include Ginn’s property, the town must prove to state officials it can supply the land with water and sewer service, and police and fire coverage. The town also plans to form a group that will include citizens, officials and Ginn to begin working on the development plan. Flaherty pointed out that Ginn’s presentation Wednesday night – and the subsequent questions from residents – were just “the tip of the iceberg.”Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado