From The Vail Daily (Edward Stoner):
Minturn turned down a proposal Wednesday that would have provided enough water for substantial growth within the town, including the Battle Mountain developer’s proposal to build up to 712 homes near Maloit Park and Tigiwon Road.
The Minturn Town Council voted 7-0 to deny the proposed deal between Minturn, the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District and the Battle Mountain developer.
Most residents who spoke at the meeting opposed the deal.
“We need to control our water,” said Minturn resident Woody Woodruff. “We can’t turn over that control to somebody else, because water is going to set the future of this town.”
The developer had asked for a decision to approve or deny the deal Wednesday.
Earle Bidez, mayor pro tem, cited continued concerns on the part of Minturn with the agreement — as well as an increasingly “negative” tone from the developer.
“We have not been able to reach a deal with the district,” he said. “We didn’t get far enough with Battle Mountain to know what we would have ended up with. But I don’t think we can get there from listening to (residents) for the last few months. The negotiation would have to change very much to get there.”
Minturn currently provides its own water from Cross Creek, separate from the rest of the valley’s supply. But the water from Cross Creek is limited — more water is needed if the town wants to grow significantly.
Under the proposal, the developer would have paid for a $5.6 million water pipe, or “interconnect,” that would have connected the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District’s water supply to Minturn’s, providing more water for growth and a redundant supply in case of emergency. The developer also offered more than $3 million in other infrastructure improvements for Minturn, whose aging water system is in need of significant repairs.
The deal also would have allowed the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District to build a $48 million reservoir at Bolts Lake, which is now dry.
It would have been contingent upon the developer receiving the approvals it needs to build the 712 homes.