Keep housing options available
(This letter was originally addressed to Mayor Leroy Duroux and the Town Council of Basalt.)Dear Editor:Before the council votes on July 11, please consider that if development is disallowed outside the urban growth boundary, the community will lose its negotiating position as it relates to land use inside the UGB. Councilors who do not understand this and think that they can extract whatever they want are sadly mistaken. Developers are patient people, and they will wait for the right time to do their thing.We will also not be able to achieve our goal of diversity in the community without options for housing. In fact, it appears the council is losing sight of the community’s desire for diversity. I wonder if today’s councilors realize that by slamming the door on development outside the UGB will ensure that “essential workers” are eliminated from the landscape. Were all the discussions and site reviews conducted around the Archdiocese Housing and all the tears shed over the plight of the poor just a smoke screen? At the end of the day, the people who really supported the effort voted yes and the criers voted it down.Another interesting observation is that it seems that even when the entire Planning and Zoning Commission supports more flexibility in the master plan, as does most of the community, that the minority on council and their friends in the community can accuse those who support that position “as being in the developers’ camp.” What happened to fairness? I do not think that all people who have asked for flexibility are “friends of the developers.” I do absolutely believe there are councilors that do not want any growth at all and will do what ever it takes to slow down or stop a project, even affordable housing. What do we label them?The town needs to reconsider the plan for Old Town Park and the Midland Addition sites. These town-owned parcels need to be dedicated to employee housing. The library and Roaring Fork Conservancy could be a part of a mixed use project that would achieve a better use of the land. I have heard staff lament that it is too expensive to even consider affordable housing and that it is going to be impossible to get anywhere. Considering the current attitude, I would agree. The two town-owned parcels may be the fix. Is council willing to do the right thing and go there? I hope so.Please keep some flexibility in the plan, so that we have more options than a couple of publicly-owned parcels for preserving our diversity and providing quality affordable for our people.Rick StevensBasalt
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