News in Brief | AspenTimes.com

News in Brief

BASALT ” A development application that would add 171,000 square feet of light industry, offices and mini-storage space plus 40 residences in Basalt cleared the first hurdle in the town government’s review process Tuesday night.

The Basalt Design District received first-round approval from the Basalt Planning and Zoning Commission by a 5-1 vote. Commission member Brian Davies voted against the project, but didn’t say why.

The project is proposed along Southside Drive, between Big O Tires and Basalt High School. The plan features 70,000 square feet for light industrial businesses, nearly 81,000 square feet of mini-storage space; and 20,000 square feet for offices on 9 acres in the Southside section of town. The project would include parking lots and on-street spaces for 400 vehicles.

The applicants are the Basalt Design Group Inc., whose partners include longtime Basalt developers Clay Crossland and Paul Adams, as well as Michael Lipkin.

The proposal was approved without much deliberation by the planning commission, mainly because it complies with the town’s new land-use master plan. That blueprint for growth contemplates light industrial development on that site.

In addition, the site is within Basalt’s urban growth boundary, or the area deemed appropriate for development. The developers are asking town officials to annex the site because it is currently in unincorporated Pitkin County.

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The only controversy with the project, and a mild bit at that, is over the housing. The master plan contemplates 33 units there; the developers want approval for 40 units that could be sold at whatever the market will bear.

The planning commission majority said that want seven out of the 40 units to have restrictions on initial sales prices and appreciation rates so that they remain affordable housing.

The developers believe a prior agreement with the town prohibits additional requirements for affordable housing, according to their attorney, Jody Edwards.

Normally, a project seeking annexation would have to provide 50 percent affordable housing, according to the new master plan. In this case, that would be 20 units.

However, when the town acquired a different piece of land from the developers, a provision addressing affordable housing requirements at Basalt Design District was negotiated. That deal said the developers would satisfy their affordable housing requirement by giving the town 1.35 acres of the Southside site for affordable housing. They have met that obligation.

The project will now go before the Town Council for the initial review of the general parameters. If approved at that step, it requires two more rounds of approvals. The resolution to the disagreement on affordable housing was left for future review.

RIFLE ” At its annual dinner, Catholic Charities gave the Monsignor Thomas Dentici Friends of Charity Award to Rose Burnett of Rifle for her volunteer charity work motivated by her faith. With the award comes a reproduction of the Angelus painting, which Ziemann says captures what the award is about.

“She has a huge heart and just chips in and jumps on situations that need to be taken care of,” said Tom Ziemann of Catholic Charities. “She’s just always there and present for people who have needs.”

A retired bookkeeper, Burnett began doing bookkeeping for Catholic Charities about five years ago.

GARFIELD COUNTY ” Authorities are asking for information in the shooting of a portable digital sign board.

The sign was shot between Sept. 27 and Oct. 1 near mile marker 16.3 on Highway 13. The estimated cost of repair is $5,000.

Garfield County Crime Stoppers is offering up to $1,000 for information leading to arrests or prosecution in the case. Anyone can remain anonymous and call 945-0101.

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