Stott’s Mill development in Basalt gets final chance to advance

A development project in Basalt that’s been contemplated for 11 years and got its most recent approval in 2017 was given a final chance last night to advance.

Town Council voted unanimously to extend the vested rights for the Stott’s Mill project for one more year but delivered a stern warning to the developer to get moving.

Mayor Bill Kane said he felt the project ran into circumstances beyond its control that prevented it from advancing, most notably the slow economy after the Great Recession. He urged council to give a final chance to Briston Peterson and his company, MSP1 LLC.

“If we’ve waited this long, it would be wise to wait one more year,” Kane said.

Stott’s Mill received an updated approval in 2017 for 113 residences, including 64 multi-family units in four buildings, 49 single-family and duplex lots and a daycare facility. The project is located on 4.4 acres between the Southside subdivision and the Rio Grande Trail. The currently vacant land is north of Basalt High School.

Peterson sounded exasperated at times while pleading his case on why the project has been delayed. He said his company was prepared to break ground this summer on infrastructure. He thought he had a deal close to finalized in May with the Home Supply Ditch Company about improvements within their easement, but was told in June that nine points needed renegotiating.

“We have a goal line that just keeps moving on us,” Peterson said. “We were prepared to put a shovel in the ground six months ago.”

Some council members were perplexed why it has taken so long to try to reach agreements necessary to begin construction. Councilwoman Elyse Hottel asked why he waited until summer 2020 to get cranked up when the approvals were granted in 2017.

Peterson said it was always the company’s business plan to wait until 2020 to start. His land-use planner, Mark Chain, said there is a lot of preparatory, legal work to finalize before a shovel can go in the ground.

Several council members expressed concern that the project will really advance within the next year. Peterson assured them that is the intent.

“I’d like to start this calendar year,” he said.

The council approved the first of two required readings for extending the vested rights for 12 months. However, council members added a condition that Peterson must produce a construction schedule for the project when they consider a second reading in two weeks.