Sopris Chase plan before P&Z | AspenTimes.com
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Sopris Chase plan before P&Z

John ColsonThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

BASALT A project that could not find traction with the town of Basalt and has been put before Pitkin County instead will go before the countys Planning and Zoning Commission Tuesday.The Sopris Chase project, which has been proposed as 100 percent affordable housing, could provide replacement homes for residents of the Roaring Fork Mobile Home Park and, perhaps, the Pan and Fork Mobile Home park, both in Basalt, according to project developer David Fiore.Both mobile home parks are threatened with flooding by the Roaring Fork River and the relocation of the residents there has been identified as one of the highest priorities of the town government.The land in question, a 25-acre parcel formerly known as the Downey property, is near Basalt High School and outside the towns urban growth boundary (UGB), which defines the area that the town believes is appropriate for urban development.The town specifically declined to extend the UGB to include Fiores land, and Fiore hopes the county will modify its land-use code to allow this particular development to occur. He and his development company, Western Peak, want the county to rewrite a particular section of the countys land-use code, the Affordable Housing/Planned Unit Development zoning regulation, to allow for this kind of project to go through the review process.But the countys planning staff has concluded that the project does not comply with certain provisions of the countys land-use code, nor is it consistent with the goals of the adopted Basalt Master Plan, according to staff comments written by planner Mike Kraemer.Citing the towns own comments concerning the application, Kraemer has recommended that the proposal be either delayed for further study or denied.Kraemer noted in his staff comments that the project, as proposed, is out of character with the rural setting of the land near the high school, and that it would necessitate the extension of public utilities such as water and sewer to serve the homes, which also is in violation of the land-use policies of both the county and the town.Kraemer also pointed out that Basalt already has begun a detailed replacement housing analysis concerning the mobile home parks, and recommends that Fiores proposal be put on hold until that study is completed.In addition, Kraemer noted the proposed changes to the countys land-use codes might have unknown consequences for other sections of the codes, including implications for other UGB guidelines, which also should be studied further.Some agencies, such as the Basalt and Rural Fire Protection District, the Emma Caucus, the Habitat for Humanity organization and the Archdiocesan Housing group, have urged the county to approve the code change or at least leave the door open to further consideration of the plan. Both Habitat and the Archdiocesan Housing organizations have been involved in affordable-housing projects in the Roaring Fork Valley, and the Archdiocesan Housing group has been working with Fiore on the Sopris Chase project.But other agencies, including the countys Open Space and Trails department, have come out against the plan.The county Planning and Zoning Commission will consider Fiores application at its meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Plaza One conference room.jcolson@aspentimes.com


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