Basalt golf club expansion sails through front nine
Aspen, CO Colorado
BASALT ” A proposed expansion of the Roaring Fork Club in Basalt got first-round approval from the Town Council Tuesday night but two major issues were left unresolved.
The council and developers agreed to wait until the next round of review to decide the fate of a real estate transfer assessment and a proposed kids’ camp.
The private golf club and residential community on the east end of Basalt is leasing adjacent land from the Arbaney and Kittle families. Its proposal is to build eight additional luxury cabins of up to 3,200 square feet each; a 9,000-square-foot gym; an 8,000-square-foot administration building and eight affordable housing units. An approval would also allow the Arbaney and Kittle families to build three single family homes of up to 5,000 square feet each.
The application includes a request for a 3,500-square-foot kids’ camp that would operate mostly for the benefit of members during the summer months. It would be a sort of headquarters for kids ages five to 12 while they are in-between outdoor adventures. One-fourth of the spaces in the camp would be reserved for full-time Basalt kids.
The Town Council wants to see the building utilized for more than nine weeks of the year, so it asked developers Jim Light, Jim Chaffin and David Wilhelm to consider allowing a daycare to operate there year-round.
The development team told the council Tuesday night that the requirements for a licensed daycare facility were significantly different and more stringent, according to Town Manager Bill Efting. In addition, the developers said their agreement with the Arbaney and Kittle families precludes a year-round daycare.
Efting said council members asked the development team to return to a later meeting with a proposal on how the building could be used year-round for a community use.
David Myler, the attorney for the developers, said that use potentially could be affordable housing. The development team will look at options before the second round of review begins, probably in late summer or fall, Myler said.
Another outstanding issue is a “voluntary” assessment on real estate sales of the eight luxury cabins. The town wants the developer to agree to a 1 percent assessment that would generate revenues for whatever community benefits the town government deems appropriate.
Light countered with a proposal to maintain an assessment similar to what was approved with the first phase of the Roaring Fork Club. A 1/2 percent assessment on real estate sales raises funds for the Roaring Fork Conservancy, a nonprofit that focuses on water issues in the Roaring Fork River basin.
As an alternative, Light suggested to the council that a 1/2 percent assessment could raise funds for the conservancy’s planned River Center for a certain time, then be applied to other community benefits, according to Myler.
No agreement was reached at Tuesday night’s meeting. The resolution could boil down to which side blinks first. Myler said his position is the town cannot “impose” the real estate transfer tax on the developers because of state law. It must be voluntary.
Typically, a local government gains “voluntary” agreement to such an assessment because it holds leverage in the review process. By granting first-round approval, formally known as sketch plan review, the Town Council might have lost some of its leverage Tuesday night.
The fate of the assessment will be ironed out in the second round of review, known as preliminary plan.
The Aspen City Council directed staff to move forward with the Burlingame early childhood education center, but decided it needs more information on the affordable housing units that are part of the schematic design at a work session Monday.