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News in Brief

Open space swap wins by landslideASPEN By a 91 percent margin, Aspen voters approved a land swap that gained the city about 2 acres of open space.City voters gave the go-ahead for the Aspen City Council to grant 850-square-foot sliver of the city-owned Barbee Open Space to the Little Cloud Subdivision Homeowners Association. The association will install an avalanche fence and protection from rockfall on the land.In return, the city will secure a permanent easement for a public trail at the base of Shadow Mountain. Currently, the trail that connects the Little Cloud Open Space to other nearby trails runs across private property.The issue went to vote because the issue involved relinquishing open space.Basalt approves housing projectBASALT Basalt approved its version of Pitkin County’s North 40 housing project Tuesday night, but added features designed to keep prices under control.The Stott’s Mill project in Basalt’s Southside area will have between 100 and 105 residences, at the developer’s discretion. All the single-family and multifamily units must be occupied by full-time residents of the area so that it doesn’t become a second-home enclave.In addition, at least 30 percent of the units will have appreciation caps, and buyers must meet income and asset restrictions.The developers also proposed an “affordable by design” strategy. Briston Peterson, the principal partner in the project, proposed narrow lots with size caps on the houses to try to use market forces to keep prices within reach of locals.”We’re trying to build for the people that live here,” Peterson said.That was the idea behind North 40 as well. The subdivision at the Aspen Business Center has resident-occupied restrictions. Nevertheless, 19 of the 71 single-family homes there were valued at more than $1 million by the assessor’s office as of May 2005. Many of the units there are larger than what will be allowed at Stott’s Mill.There are 45 lots in the Basalt project that are only 28 feet wide. They are modeled after the small lots in the core of old town Basalt, Peterson said.On 12 of those lots, the living area of the units will be capped at 1,328 square feet. House sizes will be capped at 2,000 square feet on another 33 units. All will be entitled to a 400-square-foot garage.The approvals from the Basalt Town Council allows Peterson to build single-family homes or duplexes on those narrow lots.Another 16 units will be built on 42-foot wide lots, with house caps at 2,376 square feet and a garage of up to 624 square feet. He will build the bulk of the units.Seven lots can have homes of up to 4,000 square feet, with a 500-square-foot garage, but those must be resident-occupied.The approval also allows roughly 32 apartments or condominiums.Peterson initially wanted to try to control prices entirely through the “affordable by design” strategy, but town officials demanded deed restrictions on some of the units.Basalt Mayor Leroy Duroux said the resident-occupied designation on the entire project is a “good start” on keeping the project affordable. The council voted 4-0 to grant the first of three approvals the project requires.


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