Basalt still isn’t sold on proposal for The Fields
Town officials urge Eagle County to deny project
A change in ownership and overhaul of The Fields development application in rural Eagle County has not convinced Basalt officials to support the project.
The Basalt Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-1 last week to urge Eagle County to deny the development application for multiple reasons. The town also was opposed to the application when it was first reviewed in 2016.
Basalt and Eagle County have an agreement that requires them to seek referral comments from one another on land use applications in the midvalley. In this case, Basalt doesn’t have veto power, just an opportunity to weigh in.
Basalt’s main point of contention is the project is outside the Basalt Urban Growth Boundary, where growth can most easily be absorbed because of proximity to services.
“(T)he Town believes that the proposed density of 135 dwelling units is an urban/suburban level of development that belongs within the Town’s Urban Growth Boundary ad not in the rural fringe as proposed,” the town’s letter said.
The Fields is located on the south side of Highway 82, across from the Blue Lake subdivision entrance. Eagle County granted first round approval in 2016 for as many as 110 residences, but the developers were unable to move the plan forward.
Evan Schreiber bought the property in 2019 and made significant changes that he feels enhance the proposal. He is clustering the residences in small groups around open space. Schreiber is seeking approval for 135 residences, including 34 affordable housing units or 25% of the total. He believes keeping the free-market units small — they would average 1,521 square feet — will keep them affordable.
Basalt officials aren’t sure about that.
“(I)t has been the Town’s experience that unless a unit is deed-restricted it will not end up affordably priced,” Basalt’s letter to Eagle County says. “An example of this is the Shadow Rock Townhomes, which were approved with significant density on the premise the units would be more affordable, but current market rate prices on the Shadow Rock Townhomes are ranging from $800,000 to $1.3 million.”
Basalt officials also raised concerns about traffic generation, adequacy of roads to handle traffic, a location too far away from mass transit stops, impacts on schools and lack of safe pedestrian connections.
When informed of Basalt’s letter, Schreiber said his application was created using guidance from Eagle County’s planning documents.
“The fact is the Fields is not within the Town of Basalt, but rather in Eagle County,” he said via email. “Since we are located in Eagle County, the perspective and rules of Eagle County are the governing framework for The Fields. That framework established the basis and direction of the project that we have today.”
Schreiber said Eagle County’s Future Land Use Map identified his 20 acres as appropriate for the project as proposed. He said the county engaged in a years-long process to develop its master plans, and it provided residents with opportunities to weigh in on development plans.
“The current design thoughtfully balances the goals and comments of the Eagle County residents and governing bodies,” he said. “There are a number of net benefits within the site and the immediate surrounding area to the project, which would not otherwise take place.”
Eagle County is currently collecting referral comments on The Fields and is assessing the application. The Roaring Fork Regional Planning Commission and the Eagle County commissioners will review the proposal, but no meetings have been set yet.
Aspen City Council approved a contract with Daniel Joseph (DJ) Watkins during Tuesday’s regular meeting to move forward with his intentions to operate his proposed “Aspen Collective,” which is currently occupied by Mia Valley’s Valley Fine Art.