Firm aims to resurrect, expand Basalt housing proposal
A Basalt landowner wants to revive and increase a proposal for a housing development that was shelved during the national recession.
Briston Peterson, one of three partners in a company called MSP1 LLC, said his group wants to build 180 residences on 18 acres it owns along South Side Drive in Basalt.
“We’re going to come in with a similar application to what the town saw before, but with more density,” Peterson said.
The firm received approval for the 110-unit Stott’s Mill project from the Basalt Town Council in October 2009, but MSP1 couldn’t proceed at a time when banks weren’t lending and real estate wasn’t moving.
“We got it to the 1-yard line and the national economy tanked,” Peterson said.
MSP1 has an option to purchase the property from Alice Stott. When it couldn’t construct its own projects, it kept its purchase option but also gave an option to the Aspen Valley Foundation, which obtained Basalt approvals for a retirement community. The foundation couldn’t advance the project and lost the option this month. (See related story on page A3).
Peterson said MSP1’s approvals have expired, so he is talking to town officials about how to proceed with a resurrected project. The initial application was under review for 4½ years, so he’s hoping the review on the reworked plan goes faster.
The original approval capped the sales prices on 33 units and limited appreciation on 15 others. Another 53 residences were going to be designated “resident occupied,” which meant they had to be sold to full-time residents of the valley. This time around, the landowners will ask the council to let them build without deed-restrictions on sales prices or rents.
Peterson said Stott’s Mill will be “affordable by design and by density.” The project will include a large number of rental apartments as well as units that will be sold. The sales prices will be kept in check by high density and small square footage, he said.
Peterson said Stott’s Mill units will sell for less than what new residences and resales are going for in the valley.
The goal, according to Peterson, is to help solve the housing crunch facing “worker bees” in the Roaring Fork Valley. Apartments are nearly impossible to find at an affordable rate now that the Roaring Fork Valley’s economy is humming again. Peterson said he is a partner in the Garfield Avenue Apartment complex in Carbondale and knows firsthand that three to five applicants are being turned down per week for housing. There are no vacancies.
To prevent Stott’s Mill from turning into a second-home neighborhood, Peterson said his group will propose putting a zoning overlay for “resident occupied” on the entire property. That designation would require renters and buyers to be full-time Roaring Fork Valley residents.
Peterson has talked to Town Manager Mike Scanlon about the proposal and is waiting to consult with him more before preparing an application.
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The city of Aspen is moving toward annexing a piece of property at the Airport Business Center to piece together a 10-acre site for affordable housing.