Private ski resort approved in Minturn
MINTURN – Plans for a private ski resort were unanimously approved at a Minturn Town Council Meeting Wednesday night after almost three years of consideration. Town councilors unanimously voted to include land owned by the Ginn Development Co. into the town of Minturn. Ginn wants to build 1,700 homes and condominiums and a private ski resort and golf course south of Minturn. Last week, town councilors also voted to unanimously approve the annexation, but their second vote Wednesday night made the decision final. Town councilors will vote again, possibly later this year, to finally approve or deny the project. But Wednesday’s vote was a major step toward letting Ginn proceed with its plans. “I would like to welcome the Ginn property as a part of the town,” Mayor Gordon “Hawkeye” Flaherty said.Benefits to MinturnTown councilors said they voted yes because they wanted Minturn to have control over a development that Town Councilwoman Shelley Bellm called “inevitable.”Town Councilman Tom Sullivan said if Ginn could “disappear” and Minturn could stay the way it is, “I’d like that.” However, another government could have annexed Ginn’s land if Minturn had failed to do so, Sullivan said. Red Cliff, whose boundaries border Ginn’s property, had “made it pretty clear” that the it would annex Ginn’s property if Minturn had not, Sullivan said. “I don’t see that we have that many options,” Sullivan said. “Considering that, I believe we’ve struck an unbelievable deal.”Eagle County also could have annexed Ginn’s land, Town Councilwoman Kelly Brinkerhoff said. “Only Minturn can take care of Minturn,” Brinkerhoff said. Funding from Ginn will include sidewalks on both sides of U.S. Highway 24 through Minturn; a paved bike path; a scholarship fund for Minturn residents; employee housing for Minturn, Red Cliff and Ginn employees; a recreation center; and a clean-up of contaminated mine waste in the abandoned town of Gilman and Bolts Lake, Town Councilman George Brodin said. Minturn will get $6 million in tax revenue the second year after councilors approve the project and $6 to $10 million each year after five years, Ginn has said. Minturn residents will be stuck with the construction traffic from the development whether or not Minturn had annexed Ginn’s land, Town Councilwoman Kelly Brinkerhoff said. However, Brinkerhoff said town councilors will make sure Ginn does not go above its traffic projections. Minturn’s traffic is expected increase even without the development, Ginn’s and the town’s traffic engineers have said. Will residents vote? Minturn resident Frank Lorenti asked Minturnites to sign a petition calling for a vote by residents on the annexation. Go to minturntimes.com for information on how to sign the petition, Lorenti said. “We need to stand up for our right to vote,” Lorenti said. Bellm said town councilors have sat through “eight to 10-hour” meetings and they know the annexation the best. Town councilors did not give residents the chance to vote on the annexation, but some said they supported a vote by referendum. “If the people want to vote, they should vote,” Brinkerhoff said. “I’m all for that.”If there’s a referendum, Sullivan said he hoped Minturn residents would vote to approve Ginn. Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or firstname.lastname@example.org.