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Basalt Report: Seats fill on Affordable Housing Commission

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The Manager’s Report provided an update on the “lightning bolt project” — work on the sewer lines between the library and Two Rivers Road. Importantly for commuters, Manager Ryan Mahoney also announced that the bridge has changed to being closed full-time, instead of with the use of stop lights at night as originally planned. This was due to the concern that a stoplight immediately next to a stop sign at the Two Rivers/Midland intersection would create confusion. The process overall was stated to be going well and should tentatively be completed by April.

Next up, The Mountain Pact — an organization of elected officials from over 100 mountain communities in the West — requested the Basalt Town Council sign a letter to Colorado’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The letter, penned to State Director Doug Vilsack, urges the BLM to direct its resources toward preserving natural landscapes as opposed to prioritizing the extraction of resources. Council unanimously supported signing the letter.

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Interviews led to a series of actions for two appointments (and one reappointment) of Basalt citizens to the Basalt Affordable Community Housing Commission (BACH). BACH, which consults with the Council on issues related to housing, had only two active voting members out of seven possible seats. Jay Israel and Matt Triebwasser were both unanimously appointed as a long-time Basalt resident and relative newcomer, respectively.

Anne Baker, who was unanimously reappointed, mentioned specific concerns noticed over her tenure with BACH, and changes she is looking to make in housing, such as seeking to lower the 30% of gross income qualification for “affordable” to 25% of gross. Two more interviews will take place at the Council’s next meeting, bringing BACH to six full seats out of seven.

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The next two actions approved contracts relating to Basalt River Park: the first for its restroom and bus stop and the second for its bandshell. The contract for the bus stop will be signed with FCI contractors, who are currently constructing the Basalt River Park Apartments, for a base bid of $796,664. The estimate is based on higher quality build materials necessary for public property, along with RFTA’s specifications for the bus stop. Notably, RFTA granted $130,000 for the construction, and the developer is also providing $150,000, so the Town will be obligated to pay approximately $520,000 of that bid.

The bandshell, which has undergone some redesigns to make its construction more cost-effective, will be built by Burlingame Construction at a base bid of $821,220. The bandshell will be constructed primarily of steel and fabric and will even include a climbing element for recreation. Ideally, it will be complete in early July. As of now, Council is still in the process of interviewing event managers for this summer’s programming. All council members voted “yes” on both contracts with the exception of Elyse Hottel, who abstained from both.

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Next up were two ordinances to amend the processes for marijuana and liquor licensing, both presented by Town Attorney Jeff Conklin. Conklin stated that the initial marijuana codes were penned in 2014 when licensing was first introduced. The code would change primarily in four areas — the first being regular language cleanup. The second eases the renewal process: while liquor licenses are automatically renewed every year, marijuana licenses come to Town Council yearly for a public hearing in order to be renewed, which was deemed excessive. The third change amended a previous provision requiring at least one license holder to be local, which may come too close for comfort against the dormant commerce clause (which prohibits protectionist lawmaking). Instead, the new code would call for license owners to use a local manager to provide information to the Town. The fourth change added Triangle Park to the list of areas with spacing requirements.

The liquor code was cleaned of outdated references, and updated to contain a new class of festival liquor license authorized last year by the state. Originally, beer and liquor festivals had to be licensed as special events, for which only nonprofit businesses were eligible. Theoretically, a for-profit business could go through the state for a license in Basalt, but the amendment to the code allows for more local control of licensing. Second public hearings on March 14 were unanimously set for both the marijuana and liquor ordinances.

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The final order of business was an executive session for Town Manager Review, and with that the meeting was adjourned.

Tags: #BACH #Basalt #Basalt Affordable Community Housing Commission #Basalt report #Basalt River Park #Jeff Conklin #Ryan Mahoney
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