Basalt prepares to buy more riverfront land
The Basalt government and the town’s biggest development company have decided to shake hands rather than shake fists over a prime piece of land on the Roaring Fork River.The town is negotiating to buy five acres from a company owned by Michael Lipkin, Paul Adams and Clay Crossland, according to Town Manager Bill Efting. The property, known as Midland Addition, is between the post office and skateboard park, and stretches back along the river.Efting said the part closest to the river will remain open space. The part of the property along Midland Avenue will likely be sold for development.”We look at it as an opportunity to control a major property in the heart of town,” Efting said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for Basalt.”Lipkin echoed those sentiments.No contract has been reached yet, but the Town Council passed an ordinance this week directing the staff to work on an agreement. Basalt will pay the owners $1.18 million and trade one of three tracts of land it holds in the Willits subdivision, according to terms of the proposal. Efting said the town will retain two other pieces of land in Willits.The Midland Addition property has been a battleground of sorts for nearly seven years. Lipkin, Crossland and Adams applied on April 2, 1998, to develop the land. Their proposal was for a hotel facing the river and commercial development along Midland Avenue.A dispute flared and the review stalled over the town’s requirement that the developers build affordable housing to offset the jobs the project would create. The lawsuit was dismissed in February 2003, but the review never picked up steam again.Efting said the purchase was suggested by the town’s open space board. Town representatives approached the property owners and received a favorable reply. The deal will probably take five or six months to close, according to Efting.Up to $250,000 may be used from the town’s open space fund for the purchase. The remainder will come out of the town’s cash reserves, Efting said. If the land along Midland Avenue is sold for development, it will replenish those funds.Efting said an abandoned mobile home on the property will be removed by the time the town takes possession. The skateboard park, which is on a separate piece of ground adjacent to the Midland Addition property, will remain.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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