Letter: Goals remain the same for Pan and Fork

Goals remain the same for Pan and Fork

Given the recent articles on the resident relocation process in Basalt, the Roaring Fork Community Development Corp. would like to make the following statement:

In the months after the Roaring Fork Community Development Corp. and the town of Basalt’s joint purchase of the Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park in August 2011, a number of meetings were held with current residents. In those meetings, plans and intentions were discussed on how to implement the town’s “replacement housing ordinance” that required the construction of new housing units to replace units to be removed from the Pan and Fork.

To say promises were broken is not accurate. To say plans, intentions, and the town of Basalt’s laws have changed is accurate.

By the spring of 2013, the town began the process to rescind its replacement housing rule, calling it “indefensible” and impossible to implement. Town Council replaced it with the current plan.

Town staff took the lead in the process to compensate residents for their property in the Pan and Fork and to help them relocate. The requirement for new units becoming available was gone. The current frustrations of residents reflect that change.

We understand their frustration but believe, along with the Basalt Town Council, that the current relocation process is better on average for all residents because it involves cash and resident relocation assistance tailored to each resident. The old replacement housing ordinance required neither, and as became increasingly clear, was impossible to finance, and would not benefit current residents. The focus then was on building units. The focus now is on helping people.

We think the change is a good one. Basalt Town Council and staff should be commended for recognizing the barriers inherent in their old ordinance and making changes to achieve their goals.

The Roaring Fork Community Development Corp. entered this project with two goals in mind: fairly relocate residents currently living in the floodplain and help the Town of Basalt implement its River Master Plan. The strategy has changed, but the goals remain the same.

Colin Laird

Executive director, Roaring Fork Community Development Corp.