Development, parkland purchase must cross last hurdle on Basalt’s old Pan and Fork site |

Development, parkland purchase must cross last hurdle on Basalt’s old Pan and Fork site

Christopher Munoz, 6, sprays a water gun while playing at the Basalt River Park with his family on Thursday, May 28, 2020. Addition of park amenities must wait a year. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

Basalt residents and visitors will have to live with the status quo on the former Pan and Fork property for one more summer.

The Basalt Town Council approved a development plan for part of the property in February, but nothing can be built until the Federal Emergency Management Agency issues a green light. FEMA must certify that the property is no longer in the floodplain and that the work to achieve that goal didn’t create problems downstream on the Roaring Fork River.

The high-profile site is sandwiched between Two Rivers Road and the Roaring Fork River, west of Midland Avenue. It was the former site of the Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park.

The Basalt Town Council voted unanimously in February to approve a plan by a development group headed by local businessman Tim Belinski. Highlights include 24 residences of various sizes and 11,500 square feet of commercial space, including a 3,000-square-foot restaurant intermingled with the park. The nonprofit Art Base will build its new home on the property.

At the time of approval, Belinski estimated the first phase of construction would start in March 2021.

His group cannot proceed until FEMA issues what’s known as a Letter of Map Revision — essentially a certification that the site is no longer in the floodplain. The $30,000 cost of that process will be divided between the town government, Belinski’s group and Roaring Fork CDC.

Mahoney said that letter couldn’t be pursued until a development plan was approved. The FEMA letter should be issued before the end of the year, he said.

In addition to development on half of the site, the town is under contract to buy an additional acre to expand its existing river park. The cost is $1.34 million. Funding will come from the dedicated sales tax for parks, open space and trails.

The town has approved a plan for park amenities and was slated to spend about $750,000 in dedicated funds this year. The work was placed on hold in an abundance of caution because of economic uncertainty created by the coronavirus crisis, Mahoney said.

“The actual groundbreaking won’t happen until 2021,” he said.

The town-owned property along the Roaring Fork River can still be used this summer. There are just barebones amenities on it.

The remaining portion of the property is still owned by the Roaring Fork Community Development Corp. and remains cordoned off with black construction fencing. Mahoney said negotiations are underway to find an alternative to that fencing without inviting public use of the private property.