Changing their stories: Basalt developers eliminate fourth floor of downtown building plan
Affordable housing also increased to 17 from 11 units
The developers proposing a project in downtown Basalt have eliminated a fourth floor and added affordable housing to their building in an effort to calm public opposition and earn Town Council support.
The Basalt Center Circle building, where Clark’s Market was once located, is now proposed at three rather than four floors, according to Tim Belinski, who is seeking approval for the project along with partner Andrew Light.
“That seems to be a really important part of the community input,” Belinski said Monday of the height. “That was really clear.”
The original project placed 70 apartments, including 11 with rent controls, in the four-story building. The revised proposal places 66 apartments, including 17 with rent controls, in three stories. That meets the town code requirement for a residential project to provide at least 25% of the units as affordable housing.
The developers avoid losing a large number of units despite reducing the size by building more studio apartments. That helps the project remain financially viable despite the loss of a floor, Belinski said. There will now be 46 studios or about two-thirds of the units. The footprint of the building also will expand out to the property boundaries, he said.
Belinski noted that the rules Basalt had laid out for the prime site in its latest master plan allowed for a four-story building. However, once the review started, the mass and scale were criticized by some members of the public and some council members.
The developers decided to switch rather than fight over the height. The developers also increased the amount of deed-restricted housing after council members expressed an interest in seeing more of the units preserved as affordable. A proposal to keep a 1.5% real estate transfer tax remains part of the plan, Belinski said. That would raise funds for the town’s affordable housing program if the apartment building ever changes hands.
The changes will be outlined for the Town Council as the review continues Tuesday evening at Basalt Town Hall.
A grocery store of about 9,000 square feet remains part of the plan on the ground floor. Belinski said the concept for that space also has evolved because of public input. The concept is to provide an indoor farmers’ market that showcases locally produced foods, he said. It would have the feel of a European market. The store space also would provide basic goods for downtown residents.
Belinski said the project retains its core purpose despite the refinements. It represents the redevelopment of a key, under-utilized space at the gateway to downtown and better utilizes a large parking site. He is hoping the changes get embraced.
“It’s one of those scenarios where the public process seems to be working nicely,” he said.
Numerous speakers turned out for a Sept. 14 hearing on the Basalt Center Circle project. Any members of the public who want to weigh in this week will have to be flexible and stay up late. The town scheduled the hearing at 8:05 p.m. — following another lengthy public hearing.
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