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Minturn community faces a ‘life-changing’ decision

Illustration by Dawn Beacon
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MINTURN ” It’s a massive project that could change this pastoral mountain town forever.

It could more than double the town’s property tax revenues, Minturn officials said. And it will certainly bring more traffic to the small town, for better or for worse.

But before anything happens to 6,000 acres south of Minturn purchased by a Florida-based developer late last year, the Town Council must decide if the property should become part of the town.



The council will decide tonight whether or not to begin the process of annexing developer Bobby Ginn’s property, which is located near the old mining town of Gilman, on the way to Red Cliff. If previous meetings are any indication, council members will likely give the idea the green light.

“This is a large development,” Town Manager Ann Capela said. “It will have life-changing impacts on the town.”



What could happen tonight

A “yes” vote doesn’t automatically make Ginn’s property part of Minturn. Annexation can be a relatively lengthy process.

What it will do is allow Minturn to determine how much money and new planners it will need to review Ginn’s development plans when they do come. The Ginn Company will be footing the bill for that.



Ginn was traveling Tuesday and could not be reached for comment. However, he told the council during a meeting on Jan. 20 that he has no specific development plans yet. Shortly after he purchased the property in December, Ginn said he had considered building a private ski resort or a golf course with luxury homes.

Town officials have asked Ginn to be open with the public about his plans.

“Folks are concerned and very interested,” Councilman Darell Wegert said during the Jan. 20 meeting.

Talk of the development of Gilman has persisted for years in Eagle County, making Ginn’s recent purchase a focus of intense interest and concern, Wegert said.

To that end, the council will also decide tonight whether to create a community group so that Minturn residents can have plenty of say in what goes on with the project. In addition to voicing ideas and complaints, this group may also be asked to negotiate new community facilities with the developer.

“I think it’s real preliminary to say right now what it is we need,” Mayor Hawkeye Flaherty said. “But it’s not too early to let people know we are working on figuring out what the developer needs to provide for the town.”

‘A big impact on the town’

The Ginn Company purchased the property near the old mining town of Gilman for $32.75 million in December. Gilman is between Vail Mountain, Red Cliff and Minturn.

To get some sense of how large this project is, consider this: Once the annexation is complete, Shrine Pass will be part of Minturn.

“(Ginn’s) property totally engulfs Red Cliff on three sides,” Capela said.

Right now, the quickest way to Gilman is through Minturn on U.S. Highway 24. While Ginn has promised that his development will not be obtrusive, it will certainly be the largest single project ever in Minturn.

Former county commissioner Michael Gallagher, a Minturn resident, has urged the town to consider strengthening its development guidelines soon, noting that the town’s “vulnerability is pretty big.”

Minturn is working on that, Flaherty said. The council will be discussing Minturn’s land-use regulations before tonight’s meeting.

“I think we are aware of it and we are prepared to deal with it,” he said.

Even without development plans in place , Ginn’s purchase has generated talk within the development community. Other developers have contacted the town about possibly building their own projects in Minturn, Capela said.

“They are asking what’s going on,” Capela said. “They are speculating on Union Pacific properties. They are asking questions that I cannot answer.”

Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 607, or tmiller@vaildaily.com.

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