Letter: Sharing communication
December 16, 2015
Below is the email I sent to Basalt staff and the Basalt Town Council regarding my perceptions of the process associated with the Willits hearings regarding expansion and subsidy. This information should have been aired in public to comply with the open-meetings laws. This was a misstep on my part, and I am now ensuring that my communication is brought into the public light. Our attorney advised me that even though no harm was caused to either the applicant or the town, sharing the communication publicly resolves the issue.
I stand by my concerns with the process. The text of the email was as follows:
I understand that there were no referral comments from Eagle County on the Willits ap. Also I did not hear discussion or reference to our IGA with Eagle County. When the town staff publicly opposed Ace Lane's project, the IGA and town comments were referenced many times. Please solicit comments prior to 2nd reading and let us know if the county fails to submit comments and why.
We also need to hear a critical analysis of pros and cons on this application. This must include a discussion regarding the traffic implications to the nearby neighborhoods and hwy 82. The CDOT issues on the Front page of Tuesday's paper were extremely seriously and strangely ignored during the meeting. Again, staff repeatedly sited traffic issues during the Lane hearings but offered no analytic comments on Willits traffic generation. Staff focused their comments in support of the applicant and voiced only strong recommendation of approval. The greater community needs to have confidence that their elected officials and staff are vetting this and all land use issues neutrally and thoroughly. This is especially necessary given the hard line staff has taken on Ace Lane's proposal, which shares many of the traffic and PIF concerns associated with the Willits expansion.
There were zero down sides cited by staff or the consultant during the PIF discussion. There are down sides to every proposal and it was a red flag to hear none during the discussions. Again, the public is likely to feel that trust has been violated when they see how rapidly and one-sided the process and approval are moving.
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An obvious issue that needs to be addressed immediately, approvals or not, are the huge areas of excavation that have been an eye sore on Willits Lane for many years. When other construction sites have been left a mess, council has asked that action be taken to correct both eyesore and safety issues. The Pan and Fork site and Rhonda's site were required to take action to ensure a respectable presence in our town. This is a basic expectation from the community.
I am disappointed in this process and the lack of scrutiny on the part of our Council and staff in reviewing the complex issues associated with a project that is going to have a tremendous traffic and tax impact on our Community far into the future.
Mayor of Basalt