We can do better | AspenTimes.com

We can do better

Dear Editor:After listening to the Grace Church proposal for their proposed complex in Emma, before the Basalt P&Z, a few thoughts and visions came to my mind.For those unaware of the church’s proposal, they have purchased the former Gredig ranch on the corner of Emma and Sopris Creek roads. Their complex would include an 8,000-square-foot church, 1,200-square-foot chapel, 2,000-square-foot caretakers unit, 2,800-square-foot maintenance facility/classrooms plus extensive parking. All this in an area specifically set aside for preservation in the Basalt Area Master Plan in an effort to preserve, conserve and protect rural character for everyone.The Grace Church would like to open its facilities to the community at large for meetings/gatherings/events etc. Traffic will significantly increase in the neighborhood as cars try to get on/off Highway 82. A traffic light on the highway at Emma will not be far off.For those who live in Emma this may be advantageous as it is already difficult and dangerous at times to get on/off 82. However, for those commuters traveling up and down the 82 corridor, it means yet another traffic light to contend with.In addition, lighting will be another issue for the neighborhood, as the church will need security lights, building lights and parking lot illumination. Perhaps their design won’t be as offensive as the Basalt post office lights; however in context with the neighborhood, there will be a perpetual glow from the complex. As with a new traffic signal, this type of light pollution can have far-reaching detrimental effects.The Owen-Minney property directly across Highway 82 is back on the market because he was unsuccessful in changing his zoning to allow commercial use for the old Emma buildings. Advertising for his property suggests several special uses are “allowed,” including churches, commercial camping, kennels and veterinary clinic, nursing homes and resort cabins. Without a governing body that has the integrity to stay true to an adopted community master plan, it would not be long before the entire Basalt 82 corridor is built upon and developed. Perhaps this is progress, as evident along the Eagle-Vail I-70 corridor. I would hope we could do better.George NewmanEmma

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