2,089 too many | AspenTimes.com

2,089 too many

Dear Editor:I hope the headline declaring that “Basalt’s plan allows 2,089 new homes” will serve as a wake-up call to the town’s voters (Aug. 31).For reasons that are totally unclear to me, the Planning and Zoning Commission feels it must accommodate the maximum possible number of residents in town. Fortunately, the P&Z’s decision is not legally binding on the Town Council. Let’s hope the council has more sense.The town’s planning consultant has stated that the 2,089 single and multi-family residences are “more than enough housing units to meet the town’s needs for the next five years”.In what sense can it be said that Basalt needs 2089 residences?Does Basalt need overcrowded schools?Does Basalt need rush-hour gridlock on Highway 82?Does Basalt need to crowd more cars onto its one narrow main street?Does Basalt need to overtax its supply of water in a drought plagued state?Does Basalt need to contribute more greenhouse gases to global warming?Does Basalt need to see its finances stretched to provide increasingly expensive services to new residents? (The escalated cost of the Sagewood traffic light is a harbinger of things to come.) Does Basalt need to turn itself from a friendly small town into an anonymous suburban place whose people don’t know their neighbors?As for the argument that somehow all this growth will lower the price of housing, where is the evidence for this? My husband and I bought a house here in 1995 for $200,000. There was no Willits, no Southside, no Valley Pines and there were a number of empty lots in established neighborhoods. Housing prices certainly haven’t gone down with the addition of all the new units that have been built since 1995. There is absolutely no reason to believe they will. There is plenty of demand out there to buy all the new housing at record prices. Basalt real estate will only go down in price if there is a major recession, or if the town government succeeds in making Basalt so unliveable no one will want to come here.The citizens of Basalt must make it clear to the council that 2,089 is much too high a number. Although I hate to see Basalt’s politics go down the path blazed by Aspen, it may be necessary to put a question on the ballot to allow the citizens to record their true feelings about excessive growth.Anne FreedmanBasalt