Red Cliff voters eye private ski resort | SummitDaily.com

Red Cliff voters eye private ski resort

Steve Lynn
eagle county correspondent

RED CLIFF ” Scott Burgess wants to repair the relationship between Minturn and Red Cliff, especially now that employee housing from private ski resort may be built near his town.

“We have to change that relationship so that we have a say with what’s happening in our own backyard,” said Burgess, who has lived in Red Cliff for two years.

That’s one of several reasons Burgess has decided to run for Red Cliff’s Board of Trustees, on which six seats out of seven will be up for grabs April 1.

Five trustees are expected to run again. Eric Cregon’s term expires April 2010 and Walter Fox is term-limited. People are limited to two four-year terms as a trustee and mayor, so a resident may serve up to 16 years.

Trustees Duane Nelson, Betty Sandoval and William Marsh did not return phone calls Monday and Tuesday requesting comment on whether they will run for reelection, but Mayor Ramon Montoya and Red Cliff Clerk Joanna Snyder said they probably will run.

Julie Sturt, who has lived in Red Cliff for six years, wants to see a forum in which candidates and incumbents talk about their ideas. She wants to get to know them and how they plan to benefit Red Cliff, she said.

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Whoever ends up being elected, Sturt said she wants “big change.”

Minturn town councilors have so far declined to let Red Cliff annex the additional 1,000 acres, owned by the Ginn Development Co., that border Red Cliff. Ginn wants to build 1,700 homes and condominiums and a private ski resort and golf course between the two towns.

However, Minturn councilors have discussed sharing with Red Cliff revenue from Ginn’s proposed development.

Sturt said she hopes trustees include residents in their decisions in the future.

Talks with Ginn have been closed to Red Cliff residents.

“Make it a community issue, not just a Board of Trustees issue,” she said.

Trustees have had to meet in private with Ginn officials, said Tom Henderson, who plans on running for reelection. Henderson described the talks as “philosophical discussions” and neither trustees nor Ginn officials have made promises to one another.

And once agreements between the town and Ginn are reached, “it will be a public decision,” Henderson said.

Montoya, who plans to run for reelection, said he wants to make sure the town gets its wastewater treatment plant ” whether Ginn helps pay for it or not. It’s supposed to be built by summer 2009, he said.

He also wants Ginn’s employee housing, expected to be built near Red Cliff, to be “addressed properly,” he said.

“We want to make sure that Red Cliff is taken care of in the long-run,” he said.

Of an estimated $4.2 million, almost half of the plant is funded by federal, state and local governments, but Red Cliff taxpayers will pay back a $2.5 million, 40-year loan, he said. Montoya hopes Red Cliff won’t have to raise its $123-a-month water bill, he said.

Burgess said he wants Red Cliff to grow sensibly, but he also wants to bring more businesses into town and thus more revenue instead of burdening homeowners with high water bills and property taxes, he said.

“I think that there’s all sorts of revenue-generating ideas that can be explored,” he said.

Henderson has helped buy Red Cliff’s old school from the School District, helped get new playground equipment ” to be installed this summer ” and wants to make more improvements to the town.

Henderson, who has gone to all but two Minturn Town Council meetings in three years, said he wants to make sure that Red Cliff protects itself from Ginn.

“It’s my time to give back to the Vail Valley,” said Henderson, an estimator for Nedbo Construction in Eagle-Vail, a part-time ski instructor and Red Cliff resident for five years.

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