A compromise for Basalt
September 1, 2017
A compromise for Basalt
A number of letters have been written recently concerning the Pan and Fork property owned by the Commercial Development Corp. in Basalt. Those supporting purchase and development by Lowe think that is the best deal. Lowe is wanting town approval to build a condo-hotel. Objections to a condo-hotel include expected restrictions on noise at events in the park, the portion of the park being turned over to the town as too small, and the expectation that the "condos" will be often empty or occupied by those whose orientation is toward Aspen.
A poll (this poll was biased toward development) of Basalt citizens taken near the beginning of the town planning process found that less than 10 percent of the citizens favored residential, which a condo-hotel is, on this property. The mass and size of the buildings envisioned (70,000 square feet) on the developed property will make the Rocky Mountain Institute building (15,000 square feet) look quite small.
While the developers have taken offense from a moral stance by some against development, I don't object to them making money. I do understand that removing low-income people from a location and replacing them with high-income people has a sense of unfairness, even though it was not done by the developers. Keeping park, nonprofits and businesses on this property that are accessible to all citizens would keep this sense to a minimum.
I am among those who wouldn't mind seeing the whole property as park. However, we should compromise and permit development from the west end of where Midland Spur intercepts this property to Rocky Mountain Institute. No buildings, including buildings dedicated to the arts, should be east of this point. The town should act, and act now, to buy the whole property and entertain proposals for the remainder of the west portion. It has the money. This would permit a fabulous multi-use park in the center of town.
On a last note, anyone who thinks east Basalt lacks in vitality hasn't been there lately.
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