Basalt may extend development freeze |

Basalt may extend development freeze

A 17-month-old moratorium on major new development applications in Basalt could get extended again tonight.

The Basalt Town Council is scheduled to consider a second extension of the moratorium to buy additional time to update its land-use code. The moratorium – officially called an interim development control – is set to expire Feb. 11. But the town needs more time to implement the land-use code changes that it has been hashing out, according to a memo from Town Attorney Jody Edwards to the Town Council.

The moratorium was first imposed on Aug. 22, 1997, and extended for six months in August 1998. The freeze affects most types of applications for major new developments.

It wasn’t designed to prevent a property owner from applying to build a single-family home or to prevent homeowners from pursuing additions.

In the 17 months since the moratorium was first passed, the council and the town planning commission have worked with citizens to come up with goals and objectives for a new land-use master plan. That plan is essentially a blueprint for the type of growth Basalt wants and the locations where it would ideally occur.

The town government is starting to process the new code and amendments to the existing code. Those are the nuts and bolts used to implement the master plan.

Edwards informed the council in his memo that the new code could be partially in place before any projects make their way through the review process if the moratorium isn’t extended. However, substantial work is needed on other portions of the code, and the staff could use all the time it can get for that work, he said.

“If the IDC Ordinance is allowed to expire, staff time will likely be diverted from Master Plan implementation to new development review applications,” wrote Edwards.

He noted that the original moratorium ordinance “allows for two extensions of up to six months each.” The earlier extension was for six months, so the longest the freeze could continue is until Aug. 22, 1999. However, Edwards advised the council to extend the moratorium for two months instead of six months.

“The primary benefit of an additional extension of the IDC would be to allow staff to continue to devote as much time as possible to implementing the Master Plan,” Edwards wrote.

A second, unrelated moratorium has also affected development in Basalt over the last two months. The Basalt Sanitation District declared a moratorium on new sewer hook-ups Dec. 9 because its plant is close to maximum use.

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