Green Drake request doesn’t fly in Basalt | AspenTimes.com

Green Drake request doesn’t fly in Basalt

BASALT ” A proposal to redevelop a downtown Basalt hotel won’t be reviewed by the town government for at least four more months.

The Basalt Town Council denied a development team’s request Tuesday to grant the Green Drake Hotel redevelopment an exemption from a growth moratorium. Council members said they want their staff to concentrate on updating new rules and regulations on growth control without spending additional time on reviews of projects.

“It’s unfortunate that your project got caught up in the moratorium, but it’s a matter of months now,” said Basalt Mayor Leroy Duroux.

He suggested it might take about the same amount of time for the review process to start regardless of whether the Green Drake owners received an exemption or waited for the moratorium to expire.

The Green Drake was the only major project snared by a surprise moratorium passed June 9. The moratorium was approved for nine months, until March. But the town government is aggressively overhauling its regulations, so an extension of the moratorium might be necessary. The town is considering everything from increased requirements for affordable housing to smaller house-size caps to a growth management quota system patterned after Pitkin County’s process.

Mitch Haas, a land-use planner for Green Drake Basalt LLC, tried to appeal to the council on grounds of fairness rather than legality. He noted the development team worked with the town planning staff for about a year on the development application. A critical meeting with town planners was scheduled in June, right before the review process was set to begin. That meeting was canceled because of the moratorium. The town government determined that any project that didn’t have its first round of approval couldn’t advance in the process.

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In a cordial meeting Tuesday, council members asked the hotel ownership group to drop their appeal. Owners Josh Mondry and Mike Tierney complied.

Eventually, the town will consider the application to replace the 25-room hotel on Basalt’s main street with a mixture of residences and commercial uses. Mondry and Tierney have proposed building 24 residences, 10,600 square feet of retail and office space, and underground parking as part of their Midland Place project. Haas said the project could include a home for a nonprofit and provide community meeting space to add to the vitality of downtown.

scondon@aspentimes.com

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