KAJX

Candidates explain Pan & Fork, development positions

Mar 17, 2016

Basalt Town Council candidates listen as Herschel Ross, far left, speaks.
Credit Barbara Platts

Three Town Council seats are up for grabs in Basalt’s spring election, and the mayor’s post is also in contention. Aspen Public Radio hosted a candidate forum last night at the Basalt Regional Library. Candidates staked out their positions and answered pointed questions.

Basalt’s Pan and Fork parcel was the main topic. Of the five council candidates at the forum, the majority said they supported development on the property in one form or another. There’s been significant confusion in the community about much it could cost the Town of Basalt to keep most of the property as a park.

 

Incumbent Rob Leavitt said the current Town Council hasn’t done a good enough job explaining the vision he and other elected officials have in mind. “We’ve been making progress. We have a vision, [but] I don’t think we’ve done a great job expressing that vision of the public. That was our mistake.”

Mayoral candidates also tackled the thorny Pan and Fork issue. Current council member and mayoral contender Rick Stevens said he sees a pent-up demand for lodging. “I think a small hotel complex here on the [Pan and Fork] park would work. But it is an issue we have to look at. Especially if we want to have this discussion about becoming a year round attraction.”

Current Mayor Jacque Whitsitt diplomatically disagreed, pointing out that different reviews of the property have shown a hotel wouldn’t be financially sustainable. “I don’t think we should jump in right away about a hotel,” said Whitsitt. “I think we need to see what happens seasonally, with The Element [Hotel]...before we make a decision like that.”

 

Editor's note: scroll to the bottom of this page to find a link for the entire Town Hall Candidate Forum. 

Voter information:

Ballots for the April 5 Basalt election were mailed out on Monday, March 14, and will likely be arriving this week and next. Voters can return ballots by mail, though each ballot must have a 49 cent stamp or postage. Ballots can also be dropped off at Basalt Town Hall. Starting Thursday, March 31, Basalt Town Clerk Pam Schilling recommends hand delivering the ballot to Town Hall.

Registered voters who don’t receive a ballot can call Basalt Town Clerk Pam Schilling at 970-927-4701.

And for voters who haven’t registered yet, that can be done online at GoVoteColorado.com or in person at the County Clerk and Recorder’s office. Schilling recommends then bringing proof of registration to Basalt Town Hall, where a ballot can be picked up.