Basalt candidates Q&A: on growth | AspenTimes.com
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Basalt candidates Q&A: on growth

Aspen, CO Colorado

Do you feel that Basalt is growing too fast, too slow or just right? Please explain your answer. Garret BrandtSince the adoption of the 1999 Basalt Master Plan, the rate of growth in Basalt has been about 3.4 percent, which is very close to the stated goal of 3.2 percent growth rate. I believe this is a comfortable and reasonable rate of growth, and it shows that the policies currently in place are working. Any development that occurs from existing approvals, or approvals being sought, must be within the capacity of our existing infrastructure. Development that would exceed capacity of existing infrastructure should not be approved, or approved in a limited manner that guarantees the development pays for upgrading and expanding the infrastructure to handle the new demands. Brian DillardJust yesterday, I was studying Basalts population and build-out numbers as collected by the town. Beginning in 1986 with slightly more than 950 people, we are now in 2008 with 3,200 people. Were talking roughly 1,200 people every 10 years. No, I dont think Basalt has historically grown too fast; what I do think is, weve allowed ourselves to be a bit spread out. Willits Town Center is going to take a toll on Old Town for traffic and people very soon. What we are feeling is a loss of character in our town; the Vail-ization of our valley has hit Basalt. Where I think were growing too fast is in the single-family home arena. Basalt needs to find solutions to keep our workforce living in our town. Rifle, Silt and Parachute have all hit a boon with our lack of attention to keeping our working families local. Basalt also has increased its shopping and dining offerings, which is great, but it also has kept our town busier around the clock. I run into people from Aspen all the time who are just here for lunch and the bookstore.Pete McBrideBasalt is reported to be growing at 4.8 percent a year. It doesnt sound like a lot, but over time, it is. At such a rate, a population doubles every 14 years. Of course you dont have to be a mathematician to realize how growth is impacting the community. We see it all the time. Having grown up in the valley, I have seen growth rates such as this creep up on you. The next thing you know, rural lands and open space have fallen victim to sprawl. Ranches and open meadows I knew and played on as a child are now paved over. I realize that the right kind of growth is important and beneficial. But I think as the valley continues to become more populated, we need to start taking hard looks at how fast we want to grow, how we become more sustainable, and how we do it wisely so it doesnt price out families or small businesses. I think we also need to explore tax incentives to help local residents to maintain and establish long-term roots.Katie SchwoererMy mantra is responsible growth, which integrates affordable housing, the preservation of rural buffers and the elimination of sprawl. In recent years, the development community has turned its eyes to Basalt, and it is now imperative that the town tread carefully. Per the 2007 master plan, there are approximately 625,000 square feet of commercial space and approximately 600 residential units that have been approved but not yet built. When pondering whether the town is growing too fast or too slow, we need to recognize that these previously-approved projects compound the growth effects of proposed projects we approve now. An additional 50 units might sound reasonable when reviewed on its own, but when an additional 50 units is approved time and again, we might have an untenable situation.Rick StevensThe pace of growth is never too fast or too slow or just right. No one single growth faction is ever satisfied with the pace of growth under any circumstances. What really matters is the type of growth that occurs and who it benefits.Jacque WhitsittIn the mid-90s, there were a lot of large approvals, such as Willits and others. Based on the master plan and my lowball estimates, these approvals included approximately 800,000 square feet of commercial/industrial. In that same time period, there were approximately 950 residential units approved. Only about half of all these approvals have been built. Since 2005, there has been sketch or final approvals given for another 195 residential units as well as 170,000 more square feet of commercial. According to the master plan, the towns historic population growth has been just less than 5 percent per year or less; but based on these numbers, I believe that the question should not be how fast are we growing?, but how much can we grow? It seems logical that Basalt and the larger regional community might want to stop a minute to figure out how many, as well as how fast, we can load people onto this boat and still have a great ride. We need to ensure that we safeguard our clean air and water and the natural wonders that drew us here. This work will need to be the responsibility of the entire valley community, but someone needs to take the lead in this process why not Basalt?

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