Development in Basalt a whole new ballgame
It’s a whole new ball game when it comes to development in Basalt starting this month.The Basalt Planning and Zoning Commission culminated more than two years of work last week by approving a new town master plan. That document will be a blueprint for growth and development for at least the next five years and could influence the shape of Basalt for the next two decades.”This is going to be a superb guide for making decisions in the future,” said Town Manager Tom Baker.Baker credited town planner Glenn Hartmann and assistant planner Susan Philp for devoting countless hours to the special project. “Glenn and Susan are taking a much-needed breather,” he said.The town also hired Rock Creek Studio, a Carbondale-based planning firm, to help draft the plan. The cost of the project wasn’t available Friday.Basalt had a moratorium on most major development applications in place during two years of work on the master plan. That rankled some developers and spurred claims that the town government was just driving up the cost of land.The master plan itself disturbed some members of the development community because it designates what the town would like to see done with specific parcels of property.On the other hand, supporters credited the plan for using loads of graphics to show developers just what is desired.”I’m kind of glad it created controversy,” said planning commission member Joe Zuena. “At least we didn’t create a boring plan.”P&Z chairman Gary Wheeler, a seven-year veteran of the commission, credited the board members along with the town staff for their work.”A lot of people have no idea of what you contributed to this town,” said Wheeler.The completion of the plan was the swan song for Doug Graybeal, a P&Z member for 6 1/2 years. He first mentioned resigning about a year ago, but decided to stay on until the plan was completed.The planning commission and Town Council still have refinements to make and regulations to pass to implement the master plan. That work is expected to continue through this year.No application has been submitted since the moratorium was lifted in mid-August. Any new applications must face Basalt’s tougher regulations and master plan criteria.
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