Minturn project stalled
The first Kristi Bloodworth had heard of townhomes being built on Minturn’s west side was around July 4, when she and her fiance came across a sign while heading out for a hike up Lions Head.The notice was for a meeting that occurred on June 23.Bloodworth, a Minturn resident, looked into the Minturn Towne Home development a little more. She found out that an item about the project’s consideration by the town was published in the Vail Daily on June 19. The law requires notices to be published 10 days before a council is scheduled to vote for approval. On Wednesday night, she let the town council know. After several hours of listening to residents’ concerns and some consultation with Town Attorney Allen Christensen, the council unanimously agreed that no vote could be taken on the project. Minturn Development, LLC., the developer for the 27-unit project, must weave its way through the approval process one more time. “I’m satisfied with that decision,” Bloodworth said, who also has concerns about the project’s size. “I don’t think people had been given enough notice to say something about it.”The developer is required by law to notify residents within 250 feet of a proposed project and town officials are required to publish notice of a project’s impending approval at least 10 days before the meeting date.While there was some dispute whether the developer met his obligations – one resident claimed she never received her notice while the development team assured it was sent out – it’s the untimely publication in the newspaper that prompted the council to start the approval process over.”Given there were some gaps in the notification process the town government thought it would be best … to initiate the process again,” said Town Manager Ann Capela.Minturn Development doesn’t have to head back to the drawing board. But they do have to take the plans back to the town’s planning commission, which serves as an advisory board to the council, and get approval again there. That meeting is Aug. 11, and Capela said the town is working to get the notice published in local newspapers as soon as possible.The project has been controversial and Minturn Development has already had to negotiate procedural hurdles to obtain approval. While the town’s planning commission recommended approval of the project last month, the council had numerous concerns about the height of the buildings and the access to the development itself, just to name a few.Minturn Towne Homes returned Wednesday, hoping to have answers to the council’s questions and to receive approval. This time they were barraged with a list of complaints from surrounding property owners who claimed they were not adequately notified about the project. Some reiterated concerns about access to the project, which would sit on vacant land bordering Taylor Avenue. Large fire trucks would have to take a longer route to the development, which has the approval of the Eagle River Fire Protection District, but not the approval of some local residents. “These gentlemen have never spoken to property owners,” said Mark Hennessey, referring the Minturn Development, LLC. “I’m not opposed to the project. I’m opposed (to the access).”Councilman Tom Sullivan said the driveways for some of the townhomes are too short. Architect Karl Kreuger, who has been a vocal critic of the project, brought in large displays that showed what he believes are a list of problems with the project’s design. Nevertheless, Steve Isom, architect for the project, said Wednesday’s meeting went well and he agreed with the council’s decision.”It just happens,” he said. “Obviously if letters got lost in the mail, if the publication date is not met, then we absolutely do not want to jeopardize our project.” “We are a little disappointed, but we want to make sure all the ‘i’s’ are dotted and ‘t’s’ are crossed.”We were encouraged in that the Town Council did not ask for any changes,” he said. “We don’t have to reapply. We just have to go back for public notice.”Minturn Development is already running ads in local newspapers about the project and they would like to break ground the day after the project is approved, Isom said. As it stands now, the earliest that could happen is Aug. 18, the next time the council would have an opportunity to vote on the project.Isom said he was content with the fire district’s approval of road access to the site, though the development team is hoping to find a better way. As for the driveways? “We’re good with what we have,” he said. “There’s no house in Minturn that is not right on the right-of-way. Everyone on Taylor Avenue backs out onto the street. It’s a normal way of access.”
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