Confusing Basalt with confusion | AspenTimes.com

Confusing Basalt with confusion

I am responding to the bogus claim made by Jim DeFrancia in his letter to the editor ("Putting the ball in Basalt critic's court," Oct. 22, The Aspen Times). Contrary to Jim's claim, I never asked for, and nor did Jim ever make an offer to assign his option on the Roaring Fork Development Corp. parcel to me.

Why would he now be saying this? I believe it is more of a scripted propaganda campaign to confuse, add uncertainty, and bring Basalt to its knees to submit to his group's privatized condo vision. The option he holds should never been granted to him as it appears to be in violation of actions of joint-venture partners involving a municipality. No option should be granted to anyone on that land except via a public sanctioned selection process that is free from one developer having an unfair advantage over all others.

The land is not like any private parcel, as Jim want us to believe. Taxpayers have invested about $7.75 million in and around the parcel, so taxpayers have an ownership interest in it. If Aspen resident Jim cares about Basalt, Jim should welcome Basalt taking full control of the parcel, zoning it, and opening this up to free-market competition so that the full value of the zoning selected can flow to taxpayers rather than to his company.

Jim's company could then still win the right to buy the parcel, if what he proposed was the best among all use and pricing options. Doing this is the only acceptable solution and should not slow anything down. The new council landscaped the 1 acre of the river park for about $275,000 this summer not the millions many in DeFrancia's group had claimed it would cost. Go look for yourself, it is beautiful. Council has proven, despite the massive misinformation campaign and unfounded criticisms from many in DeFrancia's group, that they are now fully capable of taking charge and seeing this through to best serve taxpayers.

Mark Kwiecienski

Basalt