Who should approve the Ginn ski resort project? | SummitDaily.com

Who should approve the Ginn ski resort project?

STEVE LYNN
eagle county correspondent

MINTURN ” Liz Campbell thinks that Minturn residents should be able to vote

on whether a resort company may build a private ski resort near their homes.

“I would be surprised if a project this big wouldn’t go to a vote,” she

said.

Minturn town councilors are expected to vote before their election this

April on whether to annex property the Ginn Development Co. owns and plans

to develop, but some Minturn residents have said that the town councilors

should let residents decide instead.

Ginn wants to build 1,700 homes and condominiums and a private ski resort

and golf course on and around Battle Mountain, south of Minturn. If town

councilors approve the annexation, Ginn could proceed with its plans.

Fred Haslee, a former Minturn town councilman, said councilors should make

the decision.

“If that vote goes whichever way it may go and the general public feels it’s

an injustice to them as taxpayers, that’s the time for a referendum,” Haslee

said.

A fraction of Minturn residents regularly attend meetings about the

development and more people come only when they have been able to comment on

the project. (December 19 was the last meeting for that, but people can

still mail or drop off written comments to Minturn Town Center.)

So are Minturn residents knowledgeable enough to make the decision?

Campbell said that information about the project has been difficult to find.

She has asked the town several questions about Ginn’s proposal and has yet

to hear from town staffers, she said.

“It’s really hard for me to formulate an opinion,” she said.

Attending town council meetings or watching them on television and reading

the newspaper might not give residents enough information on the proposal,

Haslee said.

“I’ve gone to (Ginn) and asked specific questions,” he said. “I believe the

answers they’ve given me are legitimate and reasonable and the truth.”

In March 2006, Minturn Town Council candidates said that residents should

have the final vote on the matter. Some of the candidates pointed to a RV

park proposal that was voted down by residents in 2004 as an example of the

town’s leaders letting residents decide.

“I think citizens should have some say in the decision” on Ginn’s proposal,

said Town Councilwoman Shelly Bellm in a 2006 candidate forum she

participated in while running for office.

Minturn Town Councilors have a policy of not discussing the Ginn proposal

outside of public meetings.

Red Cliff residents should be able to vote on Ginn’s proposal, too, said

Dave Many, of Red Cliff. Ginn plans to build employee housing on the north

edge of Red Cliff. The town’s Board of Trustees wants to annex 1,000 acres

of property near its borders, though Ginn is not working with Red Cliff on

an annexation proposal.

Minturn town councilors said in a recent meeting they might agree to share

revenue generated from Ginn’s proposed resort, but would not let Red Cliff

annex any of the property.

“Red Cliff residents should be able to vote on this due to the fact that

this is going to impact their lives,” Many said.

Campbell said that town councilors will never really know what residents

think about Ginn’s proposal if a vote is not held.

“They can only guess,” she said.

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

If town councilors decide to vote first, residents still could get a chance

to have their say. Regardless of if the councilors approve or deny Ginn’s

proposal, the following steps must be taken before Minturn residents may

vote in a referendum on the project, according to Minturn’s charter and

state law.

– If Town Councilors approved the annexation and residents wanted to repeal

that ordinance, residents would have to file a petition saying that.

– The petition must be submitted to the town no more than 30 days after the

approved ordinance is published in the newspaper.

– Ten percent of Minturn residents registered to vote in the last election

(around 80 voters) would have to sign the petition.

– On each page, the petition would have to say the ordinance and its title.

– Signatures must be signed and dated in ink or “indelible pencil” and

people have to include their addresses.

– People must sign the petition within 30 days before it’s submitted to the

town.

– If the petition is approved and a referendum is held, a majority of voters

is needed to repeal the ordinance.

For more information, pick up a copy of “Elections, section 2.1” from

Minturn’s Home Rule Charter.


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