Basalt developers unfazed by town’s election results | AspenTimes.com
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Basalt developers unfazed by town’s election results

Basalt Town Clerk Pam Schilling congratulates new Town Council members, from left, Gary Tennenbaum, Amy Capron and Chris Seldin after swearing them in Tuesday at Basalt Town Hall. (Mark Fox/The Aspen Times)
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You might think developers in Basalt are saying “uh-oh” these days after three slow-growth advocates won election to Town Council seats.But two developers trying to get land annexed and major projects approved in Basalt claim you would be wrong.”The answer for us would be ‘no,'” said Jim Light, managing partner of the Roaring Fork Club, when asked if he dreaded the election results. The club owners are seeking approval for an expansion.Light said he believes their development proposal is consistent with the goals and visions the winning candidates in the April 4 election expressed. Candidates Amy Capron, Chris Seldin and Gary Tennenbaum topped the field of five candidates. The winners were sworn into office Tuesday night.

Another developer with a major project, David Fiore, said the election results won’t change the way he approaches trying to win approval for his project near Basalt High School.”I don’t take anything for granted with the existing council members or the incoming ones,” Fiore said before the swearing-in ceremony. Fiore said he once ran and won election as a slow-growth candidate in the town outside Chicago where he used to live.He said Basalt is his home now, so he would expect council members to be nothing less than good stewards of the community. Like Light, Fiore said he believes his project provides the type of community benefits the council is seeking from developments.”The last thing I would want to do in a town is be the development that is cursed,” Fiore said.

His project, called Sopris Chase, is on 25 acres beside the high school. Fiore said he is teaming with the Catholic Archdiocese of Denver on a proposed affordable housing component of his project. That affordable housing would be available as replacement housing for 52 families living in the Roaring Fork Mobile Home Park, which Fiore and his partners also own. Housing will also be available specifically for teachers.One of the major goals of the town is to get families in the Pan and Fork and Roaring Fork mobile home parks out of potential flood danger.All told, Fiore’s project is for 133 residences: 55 affordable housing, 60 mid-priced and 18 high-end.The Sopris Chase property is outside the area Basalt’s master plan identifies as the urban growth boundary, or area suitable for growth. Fiore must convince town officials his project provides enough benefits to warrant expansion of the urban growth boundary.

The Roaring Fork Club includes “a significant portion” of land outside the urban growth boundary, according to an assessment by the town’s planning staff. Light and his partners want to expand onto 202 acres of ranchland. It would seek annexation of 125 acres into Basalt.The proposal seeks 32 luxury cabins, 19 single-family home lots, 36 affordable housing units and 28,000 square feet of space for services like golf and fishing lessons.The club could go before the planning commission and Town Council for review as early as May.Terms end for three council membersAnne Freedman and Tracy Bennett exited the Basalt Town Council on Tuesday night after serving eight years apiece.Freedman, a retired college political science professor, championed historic preservation regulations, among other things, during her tenure. Bennett, a shoe store owner, provided a voice for small-business owners.During final comments to the board, Freedman said she will stay active in town politics. Im not going to say goodbye, because I intend to be back and drive you crazy, she said.Bennett called her public service one of the most rewarding experiences of her life but one that she is glad is over. Its been a great ride, but you know what, Im really glad Im getting off, she said.Joe Zuena also exited the board. He was appointed to fill a vacancy late last year. Before that, he put in eight years as a volunteer on the Planning and Zoning Commission.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com


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