Basalt council approves apartment building, water rate hike and liquor license
Bull and Buck restaurant to open soon at former Free Range spot
A proposal for a 12-unit apartment complex on the east end of Emma Road earned approval from the Basalt Town Council last week.
The council voted 7-0 to grant first reading approval of the final site plan for what’s known as Lot J of the Basalt Commercial Park Subdivision.
Front Fork Basalt LLC and its principal, Aaron Ward, applied to build three rent-controlled units and nine free-market apartments. Ward had no objection to a council request to require leases of six months or longer on the free-market units.
The council has been pressing that requirement with recent projects to get away from short-term rentals. Ward said his intention was to build workforce housing for local residents. No information was presented on the anticipated free-market rents.
A 67-unit apartment complex along with a 9,000-square-foot grocery store, also received approval from the council Tuesday. The larger project will be built at the former Clark’s Market site.
At the smaller complex on Emma Road, there will be three two-bedroom units and one one-bedroom unit on each floor of the three-story building on Emma Road. There will be one rent-controlled unit per floor.
The complex will be located just east of the Basalt River Lofts building constructed by Harry Teague. The site is between Highway 82 and the Roaring Fork River.
In return for getting an allowance to build to a height of 32 feet rather than 30 feet, Front Fork Basalt agreed to extend the existing Ponderosa Trail in that neighborhood by 1,000 feet, install three benches and three picnic tables in the area and construct a truck turnaround for delivery vehicles that come down Emma Road before realizing it is a dead end. The estimated cost of the amenities is $70,000.
A second reading of the final approval will be held Dec. 14.
In other action at the Nov. 9 meeting, the Town Council:
* Approved a liquor license for a new restaurant, Bull and Buck. The restaurant is moving into 305 Gold Rivers Court, which was vacated by Free Range Kitchen for its move over to Basalt River Park. Bull and Buck business partners and veteran restaurateurs Ryan Sweeney and Jenna Conti said they hope to open later this month. Sweeney said they would serve “elevated pub food” with an influence of English, Irish and German cuisine, wild game ingredients and local ingredients. They will start by serving dinner only but eventually plan to expand into lunch. Meanwhile, Free Range Kitchen received approval to transfer the location of its liquor license. Owners Steve and Robin Humble will move about a block away to the new river park site later this winter.
* Approved an increase in water rates. The town currently charges $51.68 per 10,000 gallons of usage. That will increase to $55.57. Town Manager Ryan Mahoney said rates haven’t gone up in close to four years. The average water bill in Colorado municipalities is $67.93 per 10,000 gallons of usage, according to a survey by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. Basalt says it needs to raise rates to build the capital reserve fund for the water delivery system. Some capital improvements have been delayed and the town wants to undertake about $300,000 per year in maintenance and replacement as needed. The water fund relies on utility fees rather than property taxes.
“That’s probably the most important resource we provide in the town,” Mahoney said. The move is designed to raise funds rather than force conservation.
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