Basalt trailer-park owners settle long-running feud
BASALT – The settlement of a four-year-old lawsuit among the partners who own a Basalt trailer park and a high-end Aspen ski lodge will allow them to focus on the long-term future of the properties, according to one of the principals.
David Fiore, of Basalt, and his company, Western Peak LLC, reached an out-of-court settlement April 2 with two companies he helped form – Little Red Ski Haus LLC and Roaring Fork River Development LLC – Fiore said. Little Red Ski Haus owns a historic Aspen ski lodge of the same name. Roaring Fork River Development owns the Roaring Fork Mobile Home Park. The mobile-home park has 51 trailers on the south side of the Roaring Fork River near the heart of Basalt.
The companies filed a lawsuit against Fiore in August 2008 in U.S. District Court in Denver to remove him as managing partner of the trailer park and ski lodge. Fiore responded with a lawsuit in state District Court trying to retain control of the properties. The federal case eventually was dismissed. The state case was settled after years of feuds among the business partners.
“We reached the settlement on the courtroom steps,” Fiore said.
As part of the settlement, Fiore was restored to the management team for the trailer-park property along with his sister. Fiore is not on the management team of the Little Red Ski Haus, but he is again working with his partners.
“The partnership recognized the value of having all members working together,” said Ari Rosenthal, a spokesman for the Little Red Ski Haus and Roaring Fork River Development, in a statement. He is also a partner in the Little Red Ski Haus LLC. Fiore said the settlement terms aren’t available through court documents. He declined to discuss details.
The implication of the settlement, Fiore said, is that the partners can pursue the redevelopment of the mobile-home park again. The group was trying before the litigation to earn approval for replacement housing near Basalt High School for its tenants. Basalt regulations require that all affordable units displaced by development must be replaced.
Fiore and his partners couldn’t get approvals for replacement housing from Basalt or Pitkin County, and then they lost an option to buy the vacant property eyed for housing near the high school. Now, it’s back to square one – seeking a site for replacement housing before trying redevelopment of the trailer park.
“Roaring Fork River Development is prepared to continue to talk with community leaders to reposition the trailer park with compatible development and to cooperate with the town to find safe housing for our tenants,” Fiore and Rosenthal said in a statement.
“The current trailer-park operation performs solidly,” the statement of the ownership group said.
Basalt government has started review of an unrelated application to redevelop a different mobile-home park in Basalt. The Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park is proposed as the site for a hotel, retail center, offices and residences. A site for replacement housing offsite is being sought for residents of 38 mobile homes. The buyer of the mobile home park sold half of the property to the town government for development of a park beside the Roaring Fork River.
Fiore said he always envisioned selling land closest to the river to the town government for a park then coming up with a suitable development plan for his group’s property.
Meanwhile, after closing temporarily in 2007 for remodeling, the Little Red Ski Haus reopened as a high-end lodge in 2008.
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