Minturn passes much-discussed effort to create new downtown design standards |

Minturn passes much-discussed effort to create new downtown design standards

New ordinance, code amendments seek to further the goals of town's strategic plan

John LaConte
Vail Daily
Odin, a brindle lab-mix, walks ahead of Michelle Luarita and Jason Funk, of Avon, recently on Meadow Mountain Trail in Minturn.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily archive

MINTURN — On its surface, the effort to create new design standards for the 100 block of Minturn might seem to be an unexciting affair.

Countless hours have been spent over the course of the last year discussing parking alignments and building heights and setbacks, confounding average listeners who may have been drawn to the conversation for its promise of furthering the goals of the town’s strategic plan.

But in the Town of Minturn 2021-2023 Strategic Plan, which seeks to “foster the authentic small-town character that is Minturn,” and “lead Minturn to long-term viability while preserving its unique character and genuine mountain town community,” an effort to adjust zoning and land-use standards was identified, as the town has seen increased development pressure in the downtown area known as the 100-block commercial zone district.

After spending the better part of a year contracting with local urban design and planning firm Studioseed, the Minturn Town Council on Wednesday approved the new design standards for the 100 block, voting 6-0 to amend the municipal code to accommodate the new standards.

Upon approval, Planning Director Scot Hunn recognized Cheney Bostic with Studioseed for her work on the effort.

“Thank you very much for all of your work in guiding us through this,” Hunn said.

“Congratulations council, we got it,” Mayor Earle Bidez said with a laugh.

Intended to welcome

The council, in advance of Wednesday’s meeting, was provided with a document dated October 2022 that summarizes the 100 block design standards and guidelines revision process.

The document breaks up the process into three chapters — one dedicated to summarizing the 100 block’s framework, one dedicated to site design and one dedicated to building design.

The 100 block is described as an authentic place, where “layers of history are reflected in its people, places, and architecture.”

The 100 block does not have a prescribed style of architecture, the document notes, and “each building seems to have its own personality.”

The 100 block is also the gateway to Minturn, the document notes, and therefore should appear welcoming.

Guiding document

In setting forth new site design standards and guidelines, the document says the town’s goal is to “improve the overall experience and appeal of the 100 block by having well-organized and inviting spaces as well as clear rules to maintain them.”

The document states, among many other new site design standards, that Main Street, Toldeo and Nelson avenues should have a minimum 5-foot public sidewalk adjacent to the curb that remains free and clear of objects at all times.

In setting new building design standards, building form and massing, street-level commercial design, materials and color, and roof styles were examined.

In examining the defining features of building design on the 100 block, the document defines Minturn’s downtown as “a pattern quilt,” with some original and some new buildings.

The unique “squares” make up “the eclectic spirit that people love and cherish” in Minturn, according to the document included in the town’s approvals on Wednesday.

The document will be used by the town’s planning commission to review individual projects that are proposed in the 100 block in the years to come.

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