Basalt council sets course on Pan and Fork site

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
Members of the Basalt Town Council assess a 3D model Tuesday night to help them envision development on the Pan and Fork property.
Scott Condon/The Aspen Times |

The Basalt Town Council voted 4-3 Tuesday night to proceed with planning on the Pan and Fork property with the assumption that as much as 55,000 square feet of development will be allowed and half the site in private hands will be park.

The Basalt Planning and Zoning Commission and town staff recommended that option. Councilmen Rick Stevens, Herschel Ross, Bernie Grauer and Mark Kittle supported the direction. Mayor Jacque Whitsitt and Councilmen Gary Tennenbaum and Rob Leavitt were opposed.

The vote applies to planning on the 2.3 acres owned by the Roaring Fork Community Development Corp. That property is closest to Two Rivers Road. The town already owns the half of the property, about 2.3 acres, along the Roaring Fork River and is creating a riverside park.

The fate of the Community Development Corp.’s half of the site has been under debate for about 18 months.

The council looked at two planning options Tuesday night. The alternative recommended by the planning commission envisioned two buildings totaling 55,000 square feet with a height of two-and-a-half-stories. Uses could include a condominium hotel with a bar and restaurant, an office and possibly a handful of affordable-housing units.

The other alternative was molded by citizens who submitted a petition to the town. The citizens’ group wanted to limit development to 43,560 square feet with the height no greater than two stories. Their proposed uses included a bar and restaurant, incubator commercial space, a nonprofit greenhouse and possibly some “workforce housing.” The footprint of the citizens’ proposal was larger because the height was reduced.

The council examined a 3-D model to envision the proposals.

After an hour of discussion, Stevens said he was going to propose a motion in favor of the 55,000 square foot proposal to advance the planning. Ross seconded the motion. There was little discussion of the motion.

Tennenbaum said he wasn’t comfortable with 55,000 square feet and no defined limit to the height.

The planning commission will continue to work on zoning for the Pan and Fork and other downtown properties. The council decision also will help a developer create an application for the property. The Aspen branch of Lowe Enterprises has an option to buy the Community Development Corp.’s property.