Roaring Fork Club in Basalt considers adding cabins, employee housing | VailDaily.com

Roaring Fork Club in Basalt considers adding cabins, employee housing

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times

The private golf and fishing club that's been a prime economic driver in Basalt for nearly 20 years is considering an expansion.

The Roaring Fork Club wants to add 13 luxury cabins, 17 employee-housing rental units and a single-family home site. There are currently 51 cabins and 22 affordable-housing units at the property, according to James Lindt, the town's assistant planning director.

The 18-hole golf course and residences were developed in 1999. The property is split between the north and south sides of Highway 82, east of downtown Basalt. The entire expansion is eyed north of the highway.

"It's kind of the last spot on campus to be developed," said club general manager Geoff Hasley.

The new cabins would be larger than the originals and possibly target a different kind of buyer. They couldn't exceed 4,000 square feet and the average size would be 3,700 square feet, according to the proposal.

The original cabins are 2,400 square feet.

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Hasley said there is a demand for residences large enough for extended families. The new cabins would be wholly owned. They wouldn't be sold as fractional-ownership, as some of the original units were. He doesn't envision them being rented out.

"I see it being more of a family base," he said.

The club would like to start site preparation and construction in 2018 if the approvals are acquired.

The expansion won't change the feel of the club, Hasley said. A group of members bought out the original developers in 2010 to preserve the feel.

"They didn't want to see it change," Hasley said. They saw their investment as a chance to "keep the club as the club," he added.

"They aren't looking for a penny of return," Hasley said. They would like to operate the best club possible while continuing the feel that has been established over the past 18 years.

Money made from the property sales will be plowed into the club, Hasley said. As an example, he cited the need for a replacement of the irrigation system that would drastically improve efficiency.

Basalt's restaurateurs and shopkeepers say their business surges when Roaring Fork Club members arrive in late spring and stay into fall. Club members have also been a boon for midvalley nonprofit organizations.

That hasn't automatically translated into support for the club's expansion plans in the past. The original development group wanted to add 32 cabins, 18 single-family homes and 36 affordable-housing units in 2006. The plan was widely opposed by town residents and faced rejection by the Town Council. The developers withdraw their application.

A drastically scaled-down expansion plan was pursued by the new member ownership group in 2012 and received the first of three necessary approvals. The plan didn't face any community opposition, but it wasn't pursued further.

Now the ownership has scaled the 2012 proposal back a bit — eliminating two single-family homes. The Basalt Town Council voted 5-0 on Tuesday to accept the amended plan. It must still go through two rounds of approval.

Councilman Mark Kittle recused himself because his family's house will be purchased as part of the expansion. Mayor Jacque Whitsitt is traveling and didn't participate.

The expansion will require relocation of the existing 22 affordable-housing units to a site on the northwest portion of the property, intermingled with the 17 new units. Kittle's existing house will be converted into affordable-housing units.

Four of the units will be offered first to town government and essential community employees, such as firefighters and emergency medical responders. The remainder will go to club workers.

Hasley said it is vital that the club provide housing for workers.

"We employee over 200 people at our peak," he said.

scondon@aspentimes.com

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