Basalt building permits produce $1.2 million for town in 2021 |

Basalt building permits produce $1.2 million for town in 2021

Significantly less development anticipated this year with Willits built-out

Construction at a job site at Willits on Sept. 9, 2021. The town of Basalt saw a surge in building permit fee collections in 2021, buoyed by three projects, including the Steadman Clinic and the Steadman Philippon Research Institute at Willits. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

It’s always debatable if development pays its way when it comes to traffic and affordable housing, but it’s indisputable that Basalt reaped a bigger haul than expected from developers in 2021.

The town received about $1.2 million in building permit fees. Revised projections on Aug. 26 anticipated the town would collect $795,588 in licenses and permits.

“Additional permits were received in 2021 that we thought would be received in 2022,” finance director Christy Chicoine and planning director Susan Philp said in an email in response to questions from The Aspen Times.

The town collected $696,915 from permits in 2019. That swelled to $778,069 in 2020. Several major construction projects boosted revenue over $1 million last year.

The town collected $360,210 last year from the work on the Steadman orthopedic clinic at Willits Town Center. Steadman and partners, including Aspen Valley Hospital, constructed a 65,000-square-foot medical office and ambulatory surgery center. The facility is scheduled to open to patients this winter.

The next biggest producer of building permit revenue was the Basalt River Park project. The first phase consisted of the restaurant space for Free Range Kitchen and five townhomes. That produced $160,693 in permit revenue for the town’s general fund.

The third largest project for fee revenue in 2021 was the first phase of Stott’s Mill, three multi-family buildings with 48 apartments. That reaped $121,206 for the town.

“There has been a surge in building over the past three years.” — Basalt town staff

While additional phases of Basalt River Park and Stott’s Mill are planned for 2022, building isn’t expected to boom quite as much as in 2021. Willits Town Center is built-out after construction over the past decade.

The town has projected $490,000 for licenses and permits in 2022. If that holds true, it would be about a $710,000 decline, or 59%.

“The Town only budgets what is known, due to potential fluctuations in the economy and real estate market,” Chicoine and Philp said via email. “There has been a surge in building over the past three years. However, we believe that a more sustainable building fee number is about $300,000 per year.”

A major project at the former Clark’s Market site downtown is in the review pipeline, and a 12-unit apartment complex on Emma Road is awaiting final approval.

“Larger projects in the development review pipeline may not be ready for building permit in 2022,” the Basalt staffers wrote.

The Tree Farm development across Highway 82 from Whole Foods is going vertical on several residential and commercial buildings in 2022, but that project is outside of Basalt town limits, so the town doesn’t get any revenue. The project is located in unincorporated Eagle County.