Town needs voters in Levinson plan
The Basalt Town Council voted 4-2 Wednesday to support a risky plan to acquire nearly six acres of property along the Roaring Fork River west of downtown.The town will try to acquire the property owned by Dan and Lynn Levinson through a complicated combination of gifts and purchases. The council majority is essentially banking on public support when a bonding issue is posed to voters in November 2001.The key components of the complex deal, as outlined by Jody Edwards, town attorney, include:-The Levinsons’ grant of a conservation easement of about three-quarters of an acre next to the Fryingpan Mobile Home Park, west of downtown.-Their outright gift of about 1.5 acres of land with an appraised value of $995,000.-The sale of about three acres of land with a value of $1,840,000.The property includes frontage along Two Rivers Road, including an existing hodgepodge of commercial buildings such as the home of Taqueria El Nopal, and riverfront land. It could become a new home for the library or town hall, said Edwards.But the deal hinges on the town’s ability to find funds for the purchase. “If you’ve looked at the budget lately, the town doesn’t have $1,850,000 lying around,” noted Edwards.It’s the board’s intent to approach voters in November 2001 for a property tax hike to repay bonds used to buy the land, Edwards said (see related story).If that effort fails and the town cannot raise the funds in other ways, the government will be forced to pay $150,000 in penalties by June 2002. In addition, the Levinsons would be able to apply for 60,000 square feet of development along Two Rivers Road, said Edwards. A land swap would keep undevelopable property along the river in the town’s hands.The final agreement was discussed in a session closed to the public Wednesday, then approved in a public session by Mayor Rick Stevens and Councilmen Jon Fox-Rubin, Leroy Duroux and Dave Reed. It was opposed by Councilwomen Jacque Whitsitt and Anne Freedman.Edwards said the opponents objected to the wording that gives the Levinsons the right to apply for 60,000 square feet of development if the purchase falls flat.
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I try to remember to give thanks every day I spend outside, whether it be floating the Colorado or Roaring Fork, fishing an epic dry fly hatch on the Fryingpan, or teasing up tiny brook trout on a remote lake or stream. We’re spoiled rotten here, so it’s easy to be thankful.