The Basalt Town Council took several other actions at its meeting Tuesday night, including:
• A long-debated El Jebel park-and-ride lot, proposed by the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority on the south side of Highway 82 where Mermaids restaurant was once located, was approved by a 6-0 vote.
The 82-space parking lot is part of RFTA's $46 million expansion project. The lot will replace a slightly larger lot near El Jebowl.
RFTA made two major concessions to end opposition from the adjacent Sopris Village subdivision. It agreed to drop plans for an entrance-exit to the parking lot from Sopris Village Drive. Residents objected that the route would encourage some commuters to cut through their neighborhood, which has narrow streets and no sidewalks. The sole entrance and exit to the lot will be off East Valley Road.
RFTA will pipe stormwater from the parking lot to a dry well across East Valley Road. That will avoid sending the water toward Sopris Village's well for drinking water. Sopris Village will install a monitoring well at its own cost to make sure contaminants aren't reaching the well from RFTA's parking lot or any other source.
Basalt's approval didn't come with an endorsement of relocating East Valley Road and creating an intersection that is opposed by Sopris Village. Eagle County is holding meetings with stakeholders to come up with a plan for the possible intersection improvements. That plan will be unveiled to the public later this spring.
• The Town Council agreed to apply for grants from Great Outdoors Colorado for Basalt Elementary School and for the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES).
The town is seeking $80,000 for improvements to the elementary school playground. Principal Suzanne Wheeler-Del Piccolo said more equipment is needed because there is always a line to use the few pieces of equipment that exist. Six additional features are proposed. Input from the kids helped select the expansion plan.
If the grant is awarded, Basalt will contribute $1,000 in matching funds.
The town also requested $242.659.50 from Great Outdoors Colorado to help develop an outdoor "environmental classroom" at Rock Bottom Ranch. ACES wants to develop the Rock Bottom Ranch Eco-ed Trail System.
The nonprofit organization wants to build a trail that invites cyclists off the Rio Grande Trail, a popular route that runs valleywide, according to ACES Director Chris Lane. Some trails will be developed within Rock Bottom Ranch for cyclists and pedestrians, he said. The primary purpose of the trails isn't to provide recreation amenities but to guide passers-by to education displays where there will be messages about the natural environment and farming practices used at Rock Bottom, Lane said. Trail users will be guided to places where they will exercise their brains, he said.
The town will also contribute $1,000 for the ACES project if the grant is awarded. Total cost is $350,000. ACES will raise funds to cover the amount over the grant and town contribution.
• A new liquor license was granted to Frying Pan Kitchen, doing business as The Frying Pan, at 305 Gold Rivers Court, where Midland Bakery was located. The partners said they will serve American cuisine for lunch and dinner. They intend to open within two weeks.