Basalt council sour on 80-unit project
BASALT – An application for 80 residences west of the Basalt post office came within a whisker of getting rejected Tuesday night despite the developers’ pledge to contribute up to $1 million to help ease the town’s flood threat.
The council was prepared to vote on a motion to deny the Jadwin project, but delayed action at the last second. Councilwoman Jacque Whitsitt said she was going to vote to deny, and it appeared the majority of the board shared the view. Whitsitt said the project was too dense for the site, would create too much traffic for the nearby intersection of Emma Road and Midland Avenue, and could too greatly affect wetlands at the site and the adjacent Roaring Fork River.
Mayor Leroy Duroux said the board’s majority direction caught him off guard because the application seemed to follow the town’s development guidelines.
“They followed the master plan very closely, but the board felt it wasn’t the right time,” Duroux said. He acknowledged the proposal had issues that need to be worked out. “I hadn’t made up my mind on how I was going to vote,” he said.
The development team asked the board to delay the vote to give the partners in Jadwin Parcel Investors LLC a chance to withdraw the application at a future council meeting. By withdrawing the plan they can rework it and go back through the review process. If it got rejected, they would be prohibited from resubmitting an application for at least one year.
The Jadwin partners want to build 24 units with deed restrictions on sales prices and assets of buyers, and another 16 resident-occupied units with a 5 percent annual appreciation cap. Another 40 units in the condominium and townhouse complex would be free market.
The 8-acre site is divided between Eagle and Pitkin counties, so current zoning would allow only a couple of single-family homes. The land is in Basalt’s urban growth boundary, and the 80 proposed units are within the range allowed by the town’s master plan. However, the Jadwin site requires annexation into the town, giving the council greater leverage in its review. The council doesn’t have to approve the project even if the application complies with the master plan.
Several neighbors complained at Tuesday’s hearing about the density of the project and the traffic it would generate.
The threat of flooding also hindered planning the development project. The site is in the floodplain, so the developers proposed several mitigation steps. They offered to make a major contribution to fix a levee at the Upper Bypass Bridge, which town studies have indicated wouldn’t survive a major flood. The Jadwin Parcel Partners agreed to pay 70 percent of the price to fix the levee, up to $1 million. Part of the contribution would be their share for the project. The remainder would be an advance or loan.
The developers also agreed to negotiate for the removal of the eight trailers most susceptible to flooding in the Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park. The residents of those trailers would be given an opportunity to purchase the affordable housing in the Jadwin project. The town gave the developers the chance to contribute extra funds to flood mitigation if negotiations to remove the trailers failed.
The developers’ team will be back before the council on May 11.
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