Separate and unequal | AspenTimes.com

Separate and unequal

Dear Editor:I have concerns about the Roaring Fork Club proposed expansion in Basalt. The Town of Basalt appears to be inclined to approve the club expansion which will violate its master plan. Sketch plan approval has been granted by the planning and zoning board, and now it goes to the Town Council for their approval. The hundreds of hours of citizen involvement and work by consultants and staff to produce the master plan will be ignored if approval goes forward.In public meetings with the club and town government, people recruited by James Kent, who is a consultant for the Roaring Fork Club, speak in favor of the expansion. These speakers are usually those who would gain some economic advantage from the expansion. Mr. Kent packs the meeting rooms with supporters. This is in spite of the fact that the club expansion is contrary to developing community and “social capital” in Basalt.What kind of place is Basalt becoming? Do we need to approve expansion of a gated, restricted community so that some businesses will do better? Do we need to add more high-end housing that will be only occupied part time? Are these sufficient reasons to discard the master plan?Consider the affordable housing component of the proposed expansion. It is proposed that affordable housing be built so that residents in the Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park can move to it and get out of the flood plain. But there is no connection between the Pan and Fork and the housing component. Nothing guarantees that the residents will move there and if they do, nothing guarantees that other residents will not move into the vacated housing in the flood plain.Further, this affordable housing component is on a piece of land that is not adjacent to any other housing. It seems designed to keep these residents isolated from the other “rich” residents of the club and other current residents of Basalt. Rather than encouraging the Pan and Fork residents to become more a part of the Basalt community, this expansion plan seems designed to keep them separate. Is this on purpose or even done subconsciously because these residents are Latinos? Or, is it just in the spirit of a gated community to keep its workers out of sight?I have raised the issue of isolation at a couple meetings. No one has ever responded to it. Would someone please respond to this?Gerald R. TerwilligerBasalt

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