Basalt’s slow-growthers may soon be put to test | AspenTimes.com
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Basalt’s slow-growthers may soon be put to test

The three slow-growth candidates who won spots Tuesday on the Basalt Town Council won’t have much of a honeymoon before they are tested.Four applications proposing a combined 369 residential units and about 200,000 square feet of other development are awaiting review by the board, according to the town planning staff’s tally.The projects are all on empty land on the edge of town; the developers have applied for annexation into Basalt.Their task might be tougher after Tuesday’s election. Chris Seldin, Gary Tennenbaum and Amy Capron won seats on the town council and will be sworn in later this month.All three candidates hinged their campaigns on protecting Basalt’s small-town character and protecting the rural buffer that surrounds the town.But empty lands on the town fringe are also prime ground for development in the hot real estate market.A new proposal for the Basalt Design District seeks a total of 230,840 square feet on nine acres along South Side Drive, the road out to the high school. The site is behind the existing mini-storage.Basalt Trade Associates is seeking 40 residences; 80,840 square feet of mini-storage space; 70,000-square-feet of industrial space; 20,000 square feet of office space; and proposes reserving a 1.3-acre site “for teacher housing.”The other projects seeking annexation are: Stott’s Mill: Up to 109 residences and 3,000 square feet of retail space. That project is between the South Side subdivision and the high school. Roaring Fork Club: The private golf course and fishing club is seeking expansion onto 202 acres, with annexation required on 125 acres. A mix of 87 housing units, from luxury cabins to single-family homes and employee units, is sought, as well as 28,000 square feet of support space. Sopris Chase: The development next to the high school seeks 133 residences, including replacement housing for the 52 families living in the Roaring Fork Mobile Home Park.Seldin wouldn’t discuss specific projects because he will eventually vote on them and must remain impartial. In general, he said, the first key question when a project seeks annexation will be, is it consistent with Basalt’s master plan? Seldin, the assistant county attorney for Pitkin County, said state law and Basalt’s town code require that consistency before allowing annexation.He said he doesn’t have the town’s master plan memorized, yet, but two big components of consistency are protecting the rural buffers and providing affordable housing for the community.Capron is out of the country, and Tennenbaum wasn’t available for comment Wednesday. On election night, he said he is “a big fan of urban growth boundaries.””I am going to work really hard to try to protect that rural buffer, protect our open space lands next door and work with developers to deal with affordable housing issues that we have in Basalt,” Tennenbaum said after learning he won election.The issue of urban growth boundaries will play a part in the review of the four projects seeking annexation. Sopris Chase and much of the Roaring Fork Club expansion site are outside of the boundary defined by the town’s last master plan. The Basalt Design District and Stott’s Mill are on land within the urban growth boundary. Nevertheless, they still must show consistency with the master plan.”The fact that [a project] is in the urban growth boundary doesn’t mean it is automatically appropriate for annexation,” Seldin said.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com


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