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Basalt extends moratorium

The Basalt Town Council extended a development moratorium Tuesday and made the town staff promise to beat them up to make sure a new land-use code is completed within that time.

The council voted 7-0 to extend the 17-month-old freeze on most major development applications for another six months. This is the second six-month extension the council has approved.

The additional time is needed to complete a new town “master plan” – a blueprint for the type of growth the towns wants. The town government has been working on that plan, and the land-use code that implements its goals and objectives, since the moratorium was approved in August 1997.

Town Attorney Jody Edwards said the new master plan should be in place in 60 days. He advised the council to extend the moratorium for that period.

However, council members weren’t convinced the work will be done that quickly. Councilwoman Anne Freedman said she preferred a longer extension of the moratorium to give the town some breathing room.

“If we do it for 60 days and we need 90, then we’re stuck because we can’t extend it again,” she noted.

The Town Council has already extended the moratorium once for six months. By law, it could be approved for the initial year and extended only twice for up to six months.

If the council had extended the moratorium for 60 days last night, it could not later approve any other extensions for any length of time.

Like Freedman, Councilman Chris Lane also wanted to play it safe with an extension that assured the town could complete its master plan.

“I don’t want to pretend it can be done in 90 days if it can’t,” he said.

Mayor Rick Stevens noted that he protested “pretty strongly” the last time the town extended its moratorium. His concern, he said, is that the council will continue to be “undisciplined” and not devote the time necessary to complete the plan.

He said the town staff needs to keep the council “on track” with the work. Councilwoman Jacque Whitsitt’s motion to extend the moratorium included wording to have the staff “beat us up” to make sure work gets done on the master plan.


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