Golf club’s expansion plan feels ‘urban’ to Pitkin County
A controversial development proposal that seems “rural” to Basalt officials appears “urban” to Pitkin County.The Roaring Fork Club is seeking approval for 68 residences from Basalt. It would receive less than one-fifth of that amount if the property remained in the county’s jurisdiction, county officials disclosed yesterday.Developer Jim Light and his partners want to expand the Roaring Fork Club by adding nine holes of golf, 24 luxury cabins, 10 single-family home lots and 34 employee units on a ranch on Basalt’s outskirts. Basalt has accepted the application and request to annex the property into the town. It started a review even though the ranch is outside what the town considers its urban growth boundary, or area suitable for high-density development.The council decided 3-1 in an informal vote last month to review the application rather than delay it while the community updates its land-use master plan. Town officials don’t consider 68 housing units on 202 acres as high density.”The majority of us feel that’s rural growth,” Basalt Councilman Glenn Rappaport explained to the Pitkin County commissioners Tuesday in a rare joint meeting.”My personal opinion – it sure doesn’t look rural to me,” replied Commissioner Jack Hatfield.That exchange explains, in part, why Light and his partners are seeking approval from Basalt instead of the county.A memo prepared by the county’s Community Development Department said 59 of Light’s proposed 68 housing units are on land currently in the county’s jurisdiction. The current zoning would allow Light to build no more than 12 houses on the part of the ranch within Pitkin County. Once the application made it through the county’s growth management process, it would probably be pared down to six houses, the memo said.The Basalt Town Council has been criticized by some constituents for reviewing an application that contemplates a high level of development in an area that the master plan said should remain rural. A citizens group says it will circulate a petition and try to collect enough signatures to force an election asking if the review should be delayed until after residents get a chance to update the master plan.Pitkin County has also questioned if “the scale of the proposed development” is appropriate for an area outside the town’s urban growth boundary.”The proposed development represents a significant modification to direction anticipated in the 1999 Basalt Master Plan, particularly with respect to development outside of the Urban Growth Boundary,” said a memo to the town from the county’s Community Development Department.Hatfield was the only commissioner to broach the more sensitive parts of the Roaring Fork Club application. Commission Chairwoman Patti Clapper reminded the Town Council members that Basalt and Pitkin County have an agreement that essentially prohibits the county from approving urban-style development if it is outside the town’s urban growth boundary. That agreement also requires the two governments to consult when a development application affects both of them.Basalt Councilwoman Anne Freedman said she is a “minority voice” on the council because she thinks the golf expansion plan clearly violates the urban growth boundary. Rappaport, Mayor Leroy Duroux and Councilwoman Laurie Dows determined at an earlier meeting that it doesn’t.Councilwoman Tiffany Ernemann, who missed an earlier meeting about the application, said the issue is still up in the air.”That hasn’t been decided – does that (application) violate the urban growth boundary or doesn’t it?”Scott Condon’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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