Let’s talk specifics | AspenTimes.com

Let’s talk specifics

Dear Editor:On Thursday evening, Basalt’s Planning and Zoning commission approved a revised master plan, and overall it is a laudable revision. A central element of this revision is its reassertion that the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) drawn around the town should be strictly enforced. This will encourage density, facilitate transit-oriented development and walkability, and help preserve open space and our community’s character. However, rather than adjusting the UGB through the master plan revision process and keeping this boundary watertight, P&Z left open the possibility for further expanding the UGB if a developer offers replacement housing for one of the two downtown trailer parks that are in the floodway. I applaud the intentions of this exception, but I am concerned that it is too ambiguous. For instance, if a developer simply allocates land for replacement housing, would that be sufficient to satisfy this exception?With this exception in place, I would recommend that Town Council and P&Z articulate a policy that clearly defines what replacement housing means: It should include land, complete financing to build all the replacement homes, financing mechanisms that will allow all trailer park residents to move into the new homes, and provisions for ensuring that vacated trailers in the floodway will not become reoccupied. Anything less is not worthy of expanding the UGB.Furthermore, this exception potentially revives initiatives to relocate trailer park residents to land outside of the newly revised UGB. So rather than forcing the community to roll up its sleeves, sharpen its pencils and find creative solutions for replacement housing while still preserving the UGB, Basalt must now brace itself for continued developer pressure to expand the UGB for wholesale relocation of trailer park residents to the town’s periphery.David CramerBasalt