Basalt OKs space for light industry |

Basalt OKs space for light industry

BASALT ” Who says high-end residential projects, gargantuan hotels and new village cores are all developers in the Roaring Fork Valley are interested in anymore?

The Basalt Town Council granted initial approval Tuesday to a project that will provide a rare opportunity for light industry and help ease the insatiable demand for space where people can store their “stuff.”

The Basalt Design District proposal features 81,000 square feet of self-storage warehouse space; 70,000 square feet for light industrial; 20,000 square feet for offices; and up to 40 residences.

The project will be built on 9 acres along Southside Drive, the route that runs between Big O Tires and the high school. The self-storage space will be added south of the existing Basalt Mini-Storage.

The proposal has been contemplated since the mid-1990s, but review was delayed for a variety of reasons. The partners in the project include longtime Basalt developers Paul Adams and Clay Crossland.

Councilman Glenn Rappaport noted the project has stayed close to its original vision despite the passage of so many years. He credited the developers for proposing something other than high-end residences, which dominate development plans in the booming Basalt market these days. Light industrial space has generally disappeared in the upper and middle valley in recent years.

The property currently is in unincorporated Pitkin County, but within the Basalt “urban growth boundary,” or area deemed appropriate for urban-style growth. The developers are seeking annexation into the town.

County zoning would allow one house on the site.

Part of the project’s long history includes a special agreement that alters the developers’ obligations to build affordable housing. The same developers sold the town land between the Basalt Post Office and skateboard park. (The library district has a contract to acquire the site for a new facility.)

As part of that sale, the town government signed a contract with the developers that said they could meet their affordable housing obligations at the Basalt Design District by donating land instead of building residences.

Crossland, Adams and their partners will donate 1.3 acres that will be designated for teacher housing. No details have been worked out on whether the town government, school district or some combination will build that housing.

In return for donating the land, the developers can build 33 free-market residences without meeting the town’s usual affordable housing requirements. That housing will be mixed in with the light industrial spaces and offices.

The developers sought approval for 40 housing units, but town officials said any number greater than the 33 contemplated on the site by the town master plan would have to be affordable housing. The developers indicated they wouldn’t build those additional units.

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