Basalt tries to avoid second-home blitz
BASALT Basalt officials are using their leverage with developers to try to prevent second-home owners from overrunning the town.The council granted initial approval to a second major development proposal in two months Tuesday night. But once again, the majority of the board indicated the developers must do more to cater to year-round residents to earn final approval.The Flying Fish and Pokorny project is a strange beast because it is divided between two parts of town. The developers want to build nine free-market, high-end residences on the banks of the Fryingpan River across from the barber shop on the north end of Midland Avenue. The site is the former location of the old Flying Fish Motel.In a separate but related maneuver, they want to build 24 residences, including 12 affordable housing units, across town in the Southside neighborhood. The Southside development would help them meet the affordable housing obligations for the Flying Fish part of the project. The 24 residences would be built on land known as the Pokorny parcel.The council has extra leverage in the review because developer Doug Olson needs the Pokorny parcel to be annexed into Basalt. The parcel isn’t entitled to development from the town.Councilman Chris Seldin opposed placing all the affordable housing on the Southside. He wants at least two units mixed in with the Flying Fish development.”I can’t agree with a Balkanization of our community,” Seldin said. His goal, he explained, is to mix housing for people of different economic means rather than separate it in different neighborhoods.Seldin indicated he also might push for additional affordable housing in return for support of the project. While the developers are providing 12 affordable units, six of them are “replacement housing” required for tearing down the old motel, which was converted into permanent housing.Seldin noted that the Town Council required the developers of a different project, Stotts Mill, to include 33 deed-restricted, affordable housing units in their 100-unit project. That was more affordable housing than the town code requires, but the council asked and received the extra housing because it had leverage. Stotts Mill also required annexation.Councilman Glenn Rappaport agreed with Seldin that the town should take action to ensure the Flying Fish/Pokorny project is occupied by year-round residents rather than second-home owners, but his approach was different.In addition to the 12 affordable units that have restrictions on sales prices and the buyers’ income levels, Rappaport wants an undefined number of the other residences for sale as resident occupied. There would be no restrictions on the buyers’ incomes and sales prices wouldn’t be capped. However, buyers must be able to prove that Basalt is their primary residence through voting registration and tax records.Mayor Leroy Duroux said he also felt it would be a big benefit if the project attracted people living there nine or more months of the year. Duroux said he supports the project because it provides the community benefit of redeveloping what has become a ramshackle site.Raul Gawrys, a planner for the developers, indicated they would return for a second round of approvals with refinements designed to address some of the council’s concerns.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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