Basalt imposes development moratorium |

Basalt imposes development moratorium

John Colson
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado
A home under construction at 344 Sopris Circle in the Willits subdivision continues to go up on Wednesday afternoon in Basalt. The Basalt Town Council has approved a nine-month moratorium on new residential development. (Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times)

BASALT ” A nine-month moratorium on new residential development applications is now in effect in Basalt, while town officials take a close look at current land-use regulations and how growth has been managed recently.

The decision reflects the Basalt Town Council’s conclusion that it needs to take a breather and “evaluate the rate and quality of growth” that the town has been experiencing in recent years, according to a statement from Town Manager Bill Efting.

The moratorium was approved Tuesday as an emergency ordinance by a 5-1 margin, with Mayor Leroy Duroux dissenting. The moratorium took effect immediately.

“I was a little worried about the unintended consequences,” Duroux said of his opposition to the ordinance. “I just didn’t think it was an emergency.”

The moratorium puts a halt to the acceptance, processing, or review of land-use applications seeking a development approval for property within the town of Basalt, with certain exemptions.

“The Town Council determined that Basalt needs to step back and evaluate the rate and quality of growth in Basalt, explore affordable housing strategies to provide more units in Basalt and to create a balanced economy of sustainable economic growth,” wrote Efting in the statement.

“Town Council has directed staff to engage consultants to complete the task of analyzing the current land use regulations,” Efting continued, noting that the analysis is part of an effort to determine if Basalt “is heading in the right direction” in light of various recent approvals and “the huge number of [pending] applications we have out there. I mean, people are always looking at new projects, seeing what’s on the horizon, and speculating.”

Development applications that already have sketch-plan approvals or vested rights, or that are 100 percent affordable housing, are exempt from the moratorium.

Also exempt are applications for “special review” that call for no more than two residential units, such as duplex redevelopment projects.

Other exemptions apply, such as for commercial or industrial projects that call for no more than two residential units, minor subdivisions for the creation of no more than two lots, flood damage prevention projects and other specific types of applications.