The Highway 82 corridor between Old Snowmass and the town of Basalt is the subject of a Pitkin County planning effort that may result in the creation of a master plan for the area.
County long-range planner Ellen Sassano said Tuesday that residents within the corridor are being asked to participate in a survey that will assist the initiative. She said the information being gathered also will help the town of Basalt with its current master plan update.
“It’s really in its infancy,” Sassano said of the county community development department project. “We are coordinating with Basalt planners on their master-planning effort and we may want to do a master plan for that area on our own.”
The area on which county planners are focusing runs along Highway 82 from the upvalley boundary of Basalt’s town limits — what Sassano calls “the front door of Basalt” — southward to the intersection of Lower River Road, near the Snowmass Conoco gas station. The three-mile-long corridor is not part of any county caucus boundaries, but it does lie near the Woody Creek and Capitol Creek caucus areas on its southern end and the Emma Caucus area on its northern end.
“That area is not currently included in any caucus master plan,” Sassano said. “It is included in a 1987 downvalley plan. We think it’s time to touch base with people in that area to find out what’s working or not working in terms of land use.”
Other items that will be studied include public access to the highway as well as to Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus service, the Roaring Fork River and open space and trails, she said.
Planners held an outreach session at the Basalt Library on Aug. 26 that was attended by about 40 people, most of them residents of the corridor. The online survey will be open through the end of September and can be accessed via the following link: https://letstalk.basalt.net/engage/survey_tools/pitkin-county-basalt-junction-survey
At a Tuesday work session of county commissioners, Sassano said most of the land within the area is zoned AR-10, or agricultural/residential. There are some commercial and light industrial uses within the corridor as well, she said. The area includes the Lazy Glen and Holland Hills neighborhoods.
She said no outstanding issues or problems related to land use have been identified for the area, at least so far.
“There’s a mix of uses within that corridor,” Sassano said. “It’s been a while, and we just want to check in with the people who reside there.”
While the survey is not closed to the general public, the county’s primary intent is to gather information from the residents and business owners of the area, she said.
The planning effort has no timeline. “It’ll be somewhat dependent on the feedback we get. We’re going to wait and see, and the information we receive will give us direction for the next steps.”
At some point, the county will set up a website solely devoted to the project, providing information on upcoming meetings and the data being generated through the planning process.
Commissioner Patti Clapper suggested during the meeting that planners reach out to the three caucuses whose areas border the corridor. Sassano said she’ll soon be contacting RFTA officials as well.
Other county matters
Also on Tuesday, commissioners heard an update from facilities manager Jodi Smith regarding the $5 million-plus courthouse renovation project.
Smith said the remodel won’t be starting on Wednesday as has been reported. The county is still waiting on a building permit from the city of Aspen, she said.
Construction will start soon at the historic building’s south end where the main entrance is located. That entrance will become the public’s single access point and will include a lift operation to accommodate disabled people who cannot use the stairs.
Once just inside, courthouse users must pass through a first-floor security checkpoint before attending court sessions or visiting offices of the district attorney, clerks who manage the district and county courts, probation officials and others whose offices will be located in the building.
Smith added that construction crews will make every effort not to disturb court activity during the construction process.
Planning for the reconfigured courthouse began more than a year ago after the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and the county’s assessor and treasurer offices moved into the renovated administration building nearby. A new annex was constructed as a link to the old administration building to provide more room, and the old building was reconfigured and remodeled to improve efficiency and house a greater number of county departments.