Minturn development plan could add 181 units to town |

Minturn development plan could add 181 units to town

Work on the project near town's railroad yard could begin this summer

Developers have proposed as many as 181 units for a parcel adjacent to the railroad yard in Minturn.
Four facts
  • Project name: Minturn North.
  • Location: Near the Minturn railroad yard.
  • Unit mix: Single-family homes and multi-family units.
  • Deed restrictions: 20% for locals only.

MINTURN — Greg Sparhawk wishes Minturn North had been around when he first had to move out of the valley.

Sparhawk, along with partner Jim Comerford, have proposed a large development of fairly small homes for the north side of Minturn, near the town’s railroad yards. The partners are under contract with Union Pacific Railroad for the property, which is across Minturn Road — also known as County Road.

The idea for Minturn North is to sell building lots, not homes. The initial development would put streets and other infrastructure into the property. Sparhawk, a Minturn-based architect, said he’s had conversations with a handful of builders about selling lots to them. But, he added, he and Comerford don’t want one developer to come in and build a handful of different homes on the 93 single-family lots.

The idea, he said, is for the project to look mostly like the rest of town.

To do that the plan that recently earned “concept plan” approval from the Minturn Planning and Zoning Commission calls for predominantly small lots of 4,000 square feet. A few other lots are just 2,500 square feet, and eight lots on the north side of the property can accommodate larger homes. The south side of the property is reserved for three buildings containing 24 multi-family units.

In all 20% of the homes will be deed-restricted for local residents only, with a total of 10% of the units deed-restricted regarding price.

Smaller lots make sense

Sparhawk said the small lots also make sense financially for the developers.

“By creating small lots, you’re informing a smaller home, and opening up an opportunity for someone who wants a single-family home, but can’t get it here,” Sparhawk said.

Sparhawk knows all too well about the cost of living in the Vail Valley. He first moved to Minturn in 2000, then moved to Leadville. After stops in other cities and states, Sparhawk and his family returned to Minturn in 2016.

“Everywhere we moved, we compared it to Minturn,” he said.

Sparhawk said that given current town building regulations, someone could build a home of between 2,400 and 2,600 square feet on one of the 4,000 square-foot lots. That includes garage space. A few of those lots could also accommodate accessory dwelling units.

Minturn Town Planner Scot Hunn said with accessory units, and the prospect of some duplex units on the eight larger lots, the total unit count at Minturn North could be 181.

The Minturn North plan is just starting its trip through the town of Minturn’s approval process. Following the “concept plan” approval — which came in December — the next step is “preliminary plan” approval.

Sparhawk said hearings on that second step could begin in late March or early April. But there’s a lot of work to do between then and now.

Much more work needed

Hunn said the next steps in the approval process include a fairly detailed traffic impact analysis. That’s going to include details about what road improvements are needed, and who’s going to pay for them.

Details will also include proposed park space and accommodating trails.

Hunn said the current alignment includes a proposed trail into town. The current proposed alignment cuts through a number of the proposed building lots, so that will have to change. Hunn said one idea is to take the trail along Minturn Road, then cross the road to the west side of the street.

Hunn said the developers will also need to come back with information including soil studies, an environmental impact report on wildlife and vegetation and design standards.

That could happen fairly quickly.

Hunn noted that Sparhawk quickly made revisions based on early feedback from public meetings with both the planning commission and Minturn Town Council.

“I’ve never seen anybody turn a set of plans and revisions around that quickly,” Hunn said.

The public will have other opportunities to comment when the plan returns to the planning commission for preliminary plan hearings. Hunn said the town council will weigh in at that step, as well as during final plan hearings.

Sparhawk said aside from the hearings, the development team also expects to host another open house or two.

“I think we’ve been able to address most people’s concerns,” Sparhawk said.

If the process continues smoothly, infrastructure work could begin this summer, with lot sales coming in early 2021.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at or 970-748-2930.

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