Chaffin/Light threaten rural ridge
July 22, 2005
Dear Editor: I am writing in response to the proposed development in Basalt by Chaffin/Light. My brother attended Colorado Rocky Mountain School and so I am familiar with the area.Two and a half years ago Chaffin/Light presented a plan for a gated community of around 350 houses and a golf course on the Shawnagunk Ridge, near my small town in upstate New York. Climbers and hikers know the area as “The Gunks.” It is a fragile, wild environment which the Nature Conservancy deemed “One of earth’s last great places.”It is a terrible plan and recognized as such by a huge majority of people in the area. It was the main reason the local town board was thrown out of office in 2003.The developers have brought suit against the town because of its master plan, and intend to sue the town on several zoning restrictions, while simultaneously offering various ways to sweeten the deal. There is no end in sight and it is costing everyone too much money.The irony is, as your citizens well know, Chaffin/Light present themselves as the vanguard of environmentally responsible development. But they drew up a cluster plan that claimed the right to far more lots and structures than the zoning allowed, where preserved open space is completely fragmented. It is an outrageous, bogus plan, a cookie-cutter version of what they have built elsewhere (and what was rejected in the Bahamas). It appears they are repeating the mistake in Basalt. I recommend that citizens of Basalt ignore the rhetoric and look at the actual impact both on the landscape and on the community. Here are some comments from letters to the editors posted on our website, http://www.savetheridge.com: “How dare out of state developers Chaffin/Light, whose proposed 349 houses, golf course, private restaurant, and sewage plant that would desecrate the Shawangunk Ridge, pose as ‘eco-friendly’ neighbors?” “Shame on Chaffin/Light for its eagerness to erect a principality in our midst. Shame on us all if we allow it to happen.” “Their specialy of searching the globe for environmentally fragile places to put houses and golf courses is as loathsome as it gets. And good neighbors do not require gated communities.”Patty Lee ParmaleeShawnagunk, N.Y.Coordinator, Save the Ridge Inc.