Maron to review Basalt projects |

Maron to review Basalt projects

BASALT – Basalt government has hired the longtime chairman of the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission as a senior planner to streamline the review of two special projects.

Bill Maron was selected by Town Manager Bill Kane to serve in the new role. Maron starts this week. The position will be eliminated Jan. 1, 2015, Kane said.

The town is cranking up the review on two projects being proposed by nonprofit organizations.

The Roaring Fork Community Development Corp. purchased the 38-unit Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park and wants to redevelop it. The organization has proposed 112,000 square feet of commercial, residential and office space. The Basalt Community Campus, as the project is called, includes office and meeting space for nonprofit organizations. The goal is to create a place where nonprofits have a secure future in Basalt. The project also includes plans for a hotel.

Officials with the Roaring Fork Community Development Corp. have appealed to the Town Council to complete the project’s review by June 2013 – an aggressive timeline in a town where free-market projects can take at least four years to work their way through review. Kane has pledged in public meetings that the town will attempt to meet that deadline. The town’s land-use code allows a streamlined, shortened review process for projects proposed by nonprofit developers.

Basalt also could be home to a continuing-care retirement community proposed by the Aspen Valley Medical Foundation. The nonprofit foundation outlined general plans for a campus that would include 75 apartments and one-story cottages, roughly 20 assisted-living units and a nursing home. The concept is to provide more intensive types of care as residents age.

The medical foundation has a contract to buy 18 acres of property on the Stott’s Mill property on the south side of Highway 82 on the way to the high school. Kane said the medical foundation hopes to secure approvals in less than two years.

Given the level of work required on the two projects and the tight time frame, Kane said he felt it would be best to hire a planner dedicated to those two projects. Maron won’t work on anything else.

“Bill’s going to be like czar for those two projects,” Kane said.

Maron will report to Kane but work closely with Planning Director Susan Philp, Kane said. Philp and her staff of two planners already have too many items to take on the two additional big projects, according to Kane. Maron will be the planner making recommendations to the council on the two big projects.

The town manager said he hired Maron because he possesses all the tools needed for the job: He has been on the Planning Commission for 14 years and had a hand in writing the current land-use code, he is a licensed architect, he understands the review process thoroughly, and he is already familiar with the two big projects he will be reviewing.

Maron, 53, was an unsuccessful candidate for Basalt Town Council in the May election. In addition to serving on the Planning Commission for 14 years, he has been its chairman for four years.

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