Letter: Regaining control of Basalt development

Editor’s note: This letter was original sent to town of Basalt council members and staff.

The latest round of options presented to the town for redevelopment of the former Pan&Fork property seem to be entirely driven by the needs of the developers; not surprising in light of the fact that the architects are the same group employed by the developers.

These options continue to ignore the overview plan of the Downtown Area Planning Committee by clustering oversize buildings in the area most favored for public amenities and low rise structures. The driving force for this fast-track approach, which bypasses a broader view of community planning, is the understandable desire of the Roaring Fork Community Development Corporation to swiftly recover their investment in the Pan&Fork parcel.

After investing so much time in community planning study why does the town passively permit this process to go forward when the future nature and appearance of the entire downtown core is at stake?

There is still time for the town to slow down and influence the direction of things by taking financial control of the entire process. The Board of Trustees should actively pursue the purchase of land in the central core, starting with the Roaring Fork Community Development Corporation parcel.

Only when the town owns the land can future development reflect the wishes of the people of Basalt. Appropriately scaled amenities, benefiting residents as well as businesses and visitors, can then take proper precedence over large projects driven by developers.

Douglas G. MacDonald