Minturn revisits annexing Gilman |

Minturn revisits annexing Gilman

Tamara Miller

MINTURN – For weeks now all anyone could do is guess what will be built on Battle Mountain. Minturn residents and leaders may get a better idea Wednesday night. Florida-based developer Bobby Ginn is expected to visit the Town Council Wednesday night to talk about his development plans for 5,300 acres of mountainous property located south of Minturn. The council also will reconsider a request from Ginn to bring his property into Minturn’s town limits. The council decided to postpone making that decision earlier this month until they had more information about what Ginn plans to build there.”Mr. Ginn just really wants to basically get a feel for what the council is looking for,” said Ryan Julison, vice president of communications for The Ginn Company. Minturn residents seem to have more questions than suggestions. “I think it’s still kind of off the radar,” said David Bower, a Minturn resident. “But nobody really knows what the real plan is and obviously we haven’t even moved into negotiations.”But there’s some speculation of what they’d like to see up there,” he said. What do people want?Perhaps a better question would be, what does Minturn want to avoid?The land Ginn purchased in December has a controversial history. At least some of it was contaminated by mining and was included in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund clean-up program. “It really blows me away that the developer thinks he can build on a Superfund site and reassure his customers that they are going to be safe from that,” said Pete Vance, a Minturn resident. “I hope that comes out of the meeting.”Vance also wants Minturn to strengthen its land-use regulations before Ginn formally submits plans.Ever since mining operations closed there, and the adjacent town of Gilman was abandoned, there has been much speculation about what might happen with that property, local residents say.”It’s kind of exciting and kind of scary at the same time,” Bower said. “Inevitably something is going to happen there. Rather than fight it, I think the consensus is hopefully we can work with them.”Bower likes Ginn’s idea of a private ski resort because it wouldn’t attract a lot of people, he said. The only way to get to Ginn’s property is via U.S. Highway 24, which also is Main Street in Minturn. “We live on Main Street so traffic is one of our biggest concerns,” he said. Ginn’s property is so large it surrounds the neighboring town of Red Cliff on three sides. Red Cliff Mayor Ramon Montoya said his residents also are interested in what will happen with that land if Minturn annexes it.”I have concerns with Red Cliff’s watershed now being part of Minturn,” Montoya said. “Of course, there’s already a lot of speculation regarding property values.” Chance to improve the townMinturn residents have a history of being suspicious of large development plans. A developer proposed building a recreational vehicle resort on town-owned land on Minturn’s south side, promising to throw in a community building and a recreation center that the town could use. But fears the project would bring unwanted traffic, displace wildlife, and upset Minturn’s small-town atmosphere prompted town leaders to put the development on the November ballot. Residents overwhelmingly turned it down.Bower believes the town can negotiate with Ginn to get some of the things the RV park developer promised. “The people of this town have always wanted a park,” Bower said. “The concept they brought with the RV park didn’t seem realistic there. Being that this developer has very deep pockets and a history of working with the community, I think we can get some things done.”Bower said also suggested that Ginn repair or replace the town’s aging water plant.The town doesn’t have the staff or the knowledge to evaluate a project as large as Ginn will propose, Town Manager Ann Capela said. If the town agrees to begin the annexation process Capela plans to negotiate an agreement so Ginn will pay for the extra staff Minturn will have to hire, she said.If Minturn agrees to annex Ginn’s land, it will take several months for that to happen. Capela likened it to a marriage: Ginn has proposed and Minturn must decide if it wants to accept. Before Minturn can expand the town limits to include Ginn’s property, the town must prove to the state it can supply the land with water and sewer service, and police and fire coverage.”We have to provide that property with the same services we currently provide to our residents,” Capela said. Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or, Colorado

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