Minturn townhomes have leaders a little confused
Plans for a residential complex some hope could revitalize a corner of Minturn just seemed too vague and confusing to earn the Town Council’s approval Wednesday night.Though the concept of the “Minturn Town Home” complex seems to enjoy support from town leaders and residents, the Town Council sent the proposal back to the drawing board after finding inconsistencies between the project’s description and designs submitted by the developer.The project would consist of 27 units of duplexes, three-plexes and four-plexes and would be built on undeveloped land west of the Turntable Restaurant on Railroad Avenue. Joyce McSpadden said she is simply “thrilled” that something might happen on the vacant lot in her west Minturn neighborhood. Taylor and 4th streets are a mix of residences and businesses, and that empty lot too often serves as dumping ground for trash, she said. “I just think these guys potentially can bring some clean up there,” she said. “I’m willing to give up hiking around for that.” But two members of the town’s planning commission, an advisory board, voiced second thoughts during the board meeting and an architect who had worked on the project in the early stages also pointed out several perceived problems. “I think we did make a mistake approving this project,” said Ty Gillespie, who serves on the town’s planning commission. “The architecture is Eagle-Vail architecture, not Minturn architecture. The thing happened so fast that I don’t think we gave it a reasonable consideration.”Community support, concernCarl Kreuger, who at one time was hired to work on this project, questioned the height of the buildings, as well as the safety of the slope the townhomes would be built on. Kreuger, who now lives in Minturn, had sent a letter to each of the council members Tuesday that detailed his reasons for opposing the project and delivered a letter to the development team Wednesday afternoon.However, an attorney for the development company said Kreuger’s concerns were without merit and suggested his opposition was simply a case of sour grapes.The Minturn Town Homes would be built on land formerly owned by the town. In fact, the development team presented the town with the final payment for the land with a $325,000 check at the beginning of the meeting.Steve Isom, architect for the developer, C&B Development, said the application met all of the town’s requirements. “We went through item by item all the things in Minturn’s regulations,” he said. “The last thing I ever want to do is submit an incomplete (development application).”Some other concerns included turning space that was seen as too small for larger vehicles such as a fire engine, though Isom said Eagle River Fire Protection District officials said the access was adequate. Despite the laundry list of concerns, several on the board indicated they would eventually approve the town homes.”I really like the whole project,” Councilman Darell Wegert said. “These are just minor things that I think can be solved.”Council demandsThe project assumes easements through private property owned by Xcel Energy and Vail Resorts. Councilman Tom Sullivan said he wants written confirmation that both those companies will grant the developer access.The town homes need more parking spaces, Wegert said. He also agreed there needed to be a wider turnaround on 4th Street. The inconsistencies between what the developer said would happen and what the drawings indicated also made council members believe the project was not ready to go forward.”Are you relocating Taylor Avenue onto railroad property?” asked Councilman Fred Haslee.”No,” Isom replied.”So, all the drawings I have in front of me are wrong,” Haslee said. Before Minturn can approve the project, the council needs a better idea of what it will actually look like, Sullivan said.”For Minturn, this is a big project,” he said. “We’ve screwed up before. I’m looking at plans that are not accurate and that is not acceptable, really.”Staff writer Tamara Miller can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 949-0555, ext. 607.