Two projects earn key approvals from Basalt
BASALT ” Basalt passed its own brand of an economic stimulus package Tuesday night by approving two mid-sized development projects.
The Basalt Bluffs residential subdivision and Flying Fish/Pokorny mixed-use projects both received preliminary plan approval ” the second of three approvals needed in the town’s review process.
Mark Kwiecienski heads a development team that received approval for 13 residences at Basalt Bluffs. The subdivision will be developed adjacent to Aspen Junction, in the sage, pinion and juniper hillside north of Highway 82, across the road from the Aspen-Basalt Mobile Home Park.
The proposal includes four affordable housing units. Three of them will have limits on sales prices and appreciation rates, and buyers must be qualified in specific income and assets ranges. The fourth unit won’t have as many restrictions, but it must be occupied by a year-round resident of the area and it will have an annual appreciation cap.
The free-market homes will be restricted to 3,900 square feet. Kwiecienski said the homes will be among the first in Basalt to receive the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. All nine single-family homes will have views of Capital Peak. Kwiecienski said he will preserve 85 percent of the trees on the site even after build-out. He said he is shooting for one of the “most sensitive and visually harmonious neighborhoods in the valley.”
The council granted preliminary plan approval to the project by a 6-0 vote.
The Flying Fish/Pokorny project is being undertaken by longtime Aspen-area builders John and Doug Olson and Alexander St. Holdings LLC. It features redevelopment of the old Flying Fish lodge ” a ramshackle collection of building along the Fryingpan River just east of downtown.
The Olsons plan to redevelop that site with 17,572 square feet in two buildings. That includes 1,094 square feet of commercial space on the first floors and nine residences ” seven free market and two that must be occupied by full-time residents.
In addition to the mix of residential and commercial space, the project has a 10,000-square-foot parking garage.
The Pokorny project, sandwiched between the Southside subdivision and Meyer’s Steel, places 26 residences into two buildings. There will be 12 free-market units and 14 affordable units at Pokorny. One building will have eight free-market units. The other building will have 14 units with restrictions on the income of buyers and the sales prices, two resident-occupied units that don’t have price restrictions but must be purchased and occupied by full-time local residents, and two free-market units.
Flying Fish-Pokorny was one of five major projects that were under review when the Town Council enacted a moratorium on new application in June. The town government is implementing a stricter growth management system and rewriting growth-related codes, such as affordable housing requirement, during the moratorium.
The council approved the Flying Fish-Pokorny proposal by a 4-1 vote, with Jacque Whitsitt opposed. She previously said she would vote against the project because she felt the town shouldn’t review projects that require annexation while it has a moratorium in place. The council approved a moratorium in June to update its growth management regulations.
Flying Fish-Pokorny has been under review for about three years. Basalt Bluffs was under review for about two years.
It is uncertain how the tight credit market will affect the two projects, once they acquire final approvals. Numerous developments in the valley are stalled.
“It’s very, very difficult out there with construction financing,” Kwiecienski said. “Who knows when it’s going to get better.”
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