Basalt golf club folds after council shows its cards
November 24, 2006
A private golf club in Basalt withdrew its controversial development application rather than watch it go down to certain defeat on Nov. 28.The Roaring Fork Club asked the Basalt Town Council to stop all proceedings immediately. The council voted 5-1 in a surprise decision Nov. 14 to direct its staff to prepare documents denying the application. The council majority said the application didn’t comply with key provisions of the town’s land-use master plan.The council was scheduled to follow up on its decisions with a formal vote at its Nov. 28 meeting.Jeff Jones, project manager for the club, said withdrawing the application was the wisest route. “It’s basically to leave our options open,” Jones said.It is the understanding of the club’s development team that an application cannot be resubmitted for 12 months if it is formally rejected, according to Jones. There is no restriction if it is withdrawn.The Roaring Fork Club is a successful real estate development east of Basalt’s Elk Run subdivision. It features an 18-hole golf course and 48 luxury cabins and suites. The owners wanted to add 32 additional cabins, 18 single-family homes and 36 affordable housing units. A kids adventure and education camp was also included in the plan.The club unveiled its expansion plan for town government officials in August 2004. The application was submitted formally in January 2005 and amended at the end of the year.The Basalt planning commission recommended approval of the project Aug. 29. The council overturned that direction.Jim Light, the club’s managing partner, said the decision caught him off guard because he thought his team and town officials would discuss attributes of the club’s plan in later meetings with the council. Instead, discussion stopped with the determination that the application didn’t comply with the town’s master plan.Light said he and partner Jim Chaffin “have a good track record” on building affordable housing in Snowmass Village. He was disappointed they couldn’t demonstrate their ability in Basalt “or even talk about it” with the council.The proposal of 36 affordable housing units as part of the club’s plan was touted as a way to remove some of the residents of the Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park from flood danger. Other units would have been available for the working class.Light said he is uncertain how he, Chaffin and the other partners in the club will react to the council’s decision. If they continue to seek approval for a project, they either must alter their application or lobby for changes in the master plan.The town is in the middle of meetings designed to update the community master plan.Scott Condon’s e-mail address email@example.com.The Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.