Minturn mixed on county’s help |

Minturn mixed on county’s help

Tamara Miller

MINTURN – The way Harry Gray sees it, the rest of Eagle County doesn’t have much to offer when it comes to development advice.Vail has horrible parking problems, and the Village at Avon development has been a mess, he said. As for Edwards, “Until they have enough scrotum to incorporate, I don’t think they have much to say,” said Gray, a Minturn resident and business owner.Eagle County leaders may want to offer help to Minturn as the town braces for a large and increasingly controversial project south of town. But Gray’s not sure his town leaders will need it. Minturn may be just as capable of handling developer Bobby Ginn and his plans for the Gilman area as anyone else, he said. “You all might want to calm down a little bit before you start calling us a bunch of rustic bumpkins,” he said.Mixed on county involvementThe Minturn Town Council will meet with the Board of County Commissioners Wednesday to talk about Ginn’s plans to turn 5,300 acres of mountainous land south of town into an exclusive golf course and ski resort. County commissioners Arn Menconi and Peter Runyon say Ginn’s project will impact the entire county and thus, the county should have some say in the project. They also want to offer some help.Minturn residents and leaders seem mixed on the offer. Councilman Darell Wegert said it makes sense that outside communities be involved. And the county’s help might be, well, helpful.”They have some insight, they’ve been down this road, too,” Wegert said. “There’s no sense in us re-inventing the wheel. I’m hoping they bring some of that (knowledge) to the table.”But when it comes down to it, Ginn’s project lies in Minturn’s hands, said Councilman Tom Sullivan. Wounds left from a lawsuit the town lost over water rights several years ago aren’t forgotten, either. “I think we recognize that we need some expertise,” he said. “I also think Minturn learned its lesson during the lawsuit over the water and we really were left out there to hang and dry. “But I don’t think we are wary of the county,” Sullivan added. “But we also realize that we have to look out for ourselves.”Minturn interests firstThe council decided earlier this month to form a committee that would review Ginn’s plans. The council decided to limit citizen involvement to only those people who live in Minturn. Ginn’s property surrounds neighboring Red Cliff on three sides and includes Shrine Road behind Red Cliff. Red Cliff Mayor Ramon Montoya has said he would like to talk with Ginn about his project and has plans to do so.But it’s not the responsibility of Minturn to look out for Red Cliff, Sullivan said. “I think Red Cliff should look out for its own interests,” he said. “I mean, we are elected to look after the interests of Minturn and I think Red Cliff should engage with the Ginn group themselves.”It’s only natural that some Minturn residents would be cautious about offers for help from the outside, said Councilman Jerry Bumgarner. “You get the impression they are trying to tell you what to do,” he said. But he appreciates the county’s offer, adding that he hopes more people in the community are willing to talk to the council about their concerns.”Cautiously positive”Ginn’s plans don’t include specific numbers on how many homes he wants to build. But many, including Menconi, think the developer’s preliminary sketches show a project too big for that part of the county. Most Minturn residents are holding judgment until Ginn indicates exactly how many homes he wants to build, Sullivan said.Despite skepticism, several of Minturn’s councilmen said they were optimistic about negotiating with Ginn once he formally submits plans. “I think it’s something that can work for us,” Bumgarner said. “I don’t think he is going to be a brutal person. He may not get everything he would like to have but most developers go in asking for a lot and then are able to work within the parameters that we lay out.”Minturn is “cautiously positive” about the project, Wegert said. And Gray seems to feel similarly about this town’s ability to handle this large of a development.”It’s a town for the people and by the people – what a concept,” he said. “That gives me infinitely more faith because at least they are trying to do the right thing.”===========================================================Development discussionWhat: Minturn Town Council meets with Board of County CommissionersWhen: 6 p.m. WednesdayWhere: Minturn Town Center, 302 Pine St.What’s the topic: Minturn’s Town Council unanimously agreed to begin the process of annexing 5,300 acres of property south of the town limits. Developer Bobby Ginn, who purchased the property, has announced plans to build a golf course and ski resort there. The county commissioners say they want to offer input on the project and have offered to help Minturn review Ginn’s plans.===========================================================Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or, Colorado

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