The Basalt Town Council took another step toward beginning the Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park relocation at Tuesday’s Town Council meeting.
The council spent the majority of the 21/2-hour session going over and approving the five resolutions and ordinances that related to the initial stages of the Basalt project.
“We have a lot of dominoes that need to fall into place to get phase one of this project started,” Basalt Town Manager Mike Scanlon said. “Once those dominoes fall, we can move on to phase two.”
The goal is to redevelop the 2.2-acre Pan and Fork site for future commercial and residential uses as well as a nonprofit campus. In order for that even to begin, the current residents of the Pan and Fork need to be relocated and the existing floodplain needs to be altered to ease potential flooding risks.
The first resolution adopted was the approval of purchasing the large rocks that will be used for stabilization as part of the restoration project.
The next resolution approved the relocation of 13 individuals or families living in the Pan and Fork. The space from these relocations will be used to store materials and equipment during the project. The resolution allows the town of Basalt to make a payment of $237,353 to the Garfield Housing Authority for the relocation process.
The housing authority will help administer some duties with the relocation as well as serving as the property managers of the Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park.
Another issue covered, but not yet resolved, was the funding that comes from the Roaring Fork Community Development Corp.
The town and the Community Development Corp. teamed up to buy the Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park for $3.25 million two years ago. The town then used $1.2 million in open space funds to acquire more than 2 acres from the nonprofit organization.
The Community Development Corp. goal is to redevelop its 2.4 acres as a nonprofit campus and a mixture of residential and commercial development.
One of Scanlon’s immediate issues is to make sure that the Community Development Corp. won’t have to default on any loans once the relocation of mobile homes begins. The Community Development Corp. relies on rent from the mobile-home park for at least part of loan payments.
“That’s a math problem I’m currently working on,” Scanlon said.
The third resolution concerning the Pan and Fork calls for a Nov. 5 election to approve the town of Basalt seeking $5 million in bonding authority to go toward the project. It was suggested by one council member that perhaps a companion resolution should be included that explains the bond issue with better clarity.
Town officials said previously that they believe the bonds can be repaid without raising property taxes. Law requires that the ballot must state how much property taxes could rise even if the intent isn’t to raise them.
Basalt Town Engineer Larry Thompson was called upon to explain the ordinance approving the application for a floodplain review, site-plan approval and an exemption from being classified as an environmentally sensitive area.
Thompson said the exemption wouldn’t make the project exempt from environmental restrictions.
“The plan is to protect most of the existing wetland areas around the project,” Thompson said. “The ones we can’t protect, we’ll replace and create new ones.”
The final issue tackled was preparing an ordinance to amend the replacement-housing requirements from 100 to 45 percent. It also allows for relocation assistance instead of replacement-housing requirements as the preferred option.
The ordinance was approved to move to a second reading and public hearing Sept. 10.
At the end of the meeting, Scanlon said it was a good start, as everything fell into place during the meeting to keep moving forward.
“There’s more persistence needed to get this project done,” Scanlon said. “If we keep laying the groundwork and keeping people informed, we’ll make this work.”