Letter: Let the public decide in Basalt

This letter has been sent to Basalt Town Council members.

Regarding the upcoming vote, or blocked vote, concerning the river park or lack thereof, please respect the public that does not have full-time, vested-interest people working on this to lobby and influence you.

Being voted into office in one of the sparsest percentages of voter turnouts in the history of Basalt still mandates that you respect the current public wishes regardless of if you were encouraged to run for office and were supported by the vested big crony development-group interests. Unless you made full disclosure in the election that big real estate development of the Community Development Corp. parcel was one of your top issues, in what at the time was an unrecognized voter issue, your duty is to represent the public and make sure the public’s current, now apparent wishes are honored rather than the interests of the developer camp that encouraged you to run.

The advisory petition with a purported 250 registered Basalt voter signers back in September, supporting a development cap of 30,000 nonresidential square feet on the site, and the now circulating ballot initiative with similar limitations are plenty of proof that the public disagrees with your persistent actions to zone the Community Development Corp. parcel for 75,000 square feet including residential. (For reference, the newly completed Elements Hotel in Willits is 75,000 square feet.)

One way to be absolutely wrong on this is to ignore the public’s will and force big development down the public’s throat. Putting this on the ballot to let the voters decide is absolutely and positively the right thing to do. That decision will then give the developer’s supporters three months to present their case and to win public support prior to the election if indeed it is in the public’s best interests. If, after all that, the public agrees with big development, then the election will reaffirm that. Who can argue with the majority? Isn’t that the way it is supposed to work?

Thank you.

Mark Kwiecienski