Basalt, Pitco work on deal to grant each other veto power
Basalt and Pitkin County are working on an agreement to give one another special review powers of land-use applications of mutual interest.
The agreement could be particularly important in deciding the fate of the Roaring Fork Mobile Home Park. That park, home to about 50 families, is located in unincorporated Pitkin and Eagle counties, but surrounded by the town of Basalt. The site is between Highway 82 and the Roaring Fork River, accessed from Basalt Avenue.
The mobile home park owner, Richard Downey, has sought partners for redevelopment. A deal could be struck later this month, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.
Basalt and Pitkin County officials expect that any application for redevelopment of the park would be made to the town government, along with a request for annexation. County officials are reluctant to surrender their decision-making powers over the park’s fate.
The majority of the mobile homes are located within Pitkin County, with only a handful in Eagle County.
A draft agreement between Pitkin County and Basalt would give the county “veto authority” over annexation of the park into Basalt. The county would also hold that authority over land-use decisions.
In return, the county would “give veto authority over land-use decisions within areas of Pitkin County, which are within 3 miles of the town limits of Basalt,” according to the draft.
Basalt officials were flabbergasted that the county was willing to give the town that much authority. Town Manager Tom Baker advised the Town Council at a recent meeting against taking on that responsibility.
He said the town planning staff simply didn’t have the time to review all those additional applications. But council members countered that having the option of reviewing projects would be wise policy. They noted that the town could retain the right to review county projects but only exercise it on important projects.
The draft agreement hasn’t been approved by either government and is facing refinements. Town of Basalt attorney Jody Edwards questioned whether either government could actually grant “veto authority” on land-use matters to another government. That might be banned by the state constitution, he said.
Instead of being able to veto projects in Pitkin County’s jurisdiction, the town might only be able to give a “strong statement of hatred,” Edwards said.
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