Minturn residents getting fired up for vote on resort | VailDaily.com
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Minturn residents getting fired up for vote on resort

Steve Lynn
Vail, CO Colorado

MINTURN, Colorado ” Jim Lovato can’t go anywhere in Minturn without someone mentioning a developer’s plans to build a private ski resort.

Lovato and his wife, both born and raised in Minturn, walk every day in the mornings and evenings, and the closer the vote comes, the more Minturn residents talk.

“They seem like they’re really favoring it,” he said.

The Ginn Development Co. wants to build 1,700 homes and condominiums, a ski area with acreage similar to Beaver Creek Mountain without Bachelor Gulch and Arrowhead, and a golf course south of downtown Minturn. Minturn town councilors voted in February to include Ginn’s property into the town, a major step toward letting Ginn proceed with its plans.

Residents will decide Tuesday by voting on 11 questions ” nine call for including pieces of Ginn’s land into the town, and two authorize the mayor to sign an annexation agreement and water-service agreement with Ginn.

If residents vote yes, town councilors will vote again on whether to finally approve Ginn’s plans, possibly later this year. If residents deny Ginn, the company can reapply for annexation in Minturn, apply in Red Cliff or deal with Eagle County. Bobby Ginn, chief executive officer of Ginn Resorts, has said he plans to develop Battle Mountain, south of Minturn. Ginn does not know whom he will deal with if residents vote no, he has said.

The excitement about the vote is palpable. About 90 absentee ballots had been turned in by Friday compared with “20 to 30” in April’s general election.

“It is very substantial,” said Dylan Zastrow, deputy clerk for the town.

Voters cast 227 ballots out of a total of 750 registered voters, a 30 percent turnout, in the April election. That turnout was 4 percentage points higher in the 2006 election.

Mike Valdez, who has lived in Minturn 40 years, said he will vote yes. People have voted against projects that would have delivered more revenue to Minturn in the past, such as the recreational-vehicle park, so Valdez hopes that voters approve Ginn, he said.

Valdez walked to Little Beach Park in Minturn on Sunday on U.S. Highway 24’s dirt shoulder.

“That’s one of the biggest things ” is having revenue, having money to run this town, having better sidewalks, just making it a better place to live,” Valdez said.

Some people said they may vote no.

Minturn resident John Krischan said he doesn’t want the extra traffic ” Highway 24 already is “terrible.” Krischan hopes that town councilors have a good plan to control the traffic because he’s wary of Ginn.

“A lot of people that have money but don’t live here are making the decisions,” he said.

Maryann Pacheco thinks the project is too expansive for Battle Mountain.

“I’m leaning towards no,” she said.

Shane Sorenson, who has lived in Minturn 22 years, said he will vote yes and he thinks other residents will do the same.

“I have yet to talk to anybody that really was not for it,” he said.

Sorenson thinks the development and its attendant traffic will happen whether Minturn votes for or against Ginn.

“You either benefit from it or be a victim of it,” he said.

Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 970-748-2931 or slynn@vaildaily.com.


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