Golf course could come up for vote
A developer’s plan to expand an upscale golf course could wind up going before voters in Basalt.
A critic of the Basalt town government’s handling of the Roaring Fork Club application is looking into circulating a petition that would force an election rather than let the Town Council have the final word on the proposal. That process of collecting signatures to force an election is called a citizen initiative.
“An initiative is an interesting option,” said David Cramer, a Basalt resident. “We’re taking a good, hard look at it.”
Cramer is among a contingent of residents who have lobbied the Basalt Town Council to delay the review of the golf club’s application until residents have a chance to update a land-use master plan for the town. They say that process would let residents look at any and all potential uses for the ranch where the golf club wants to expand.
The Roaring Fork Club wants to add nine holes of golf and 24 luxury cabins on the Guido Meyer family ranch and Kittle ranch, both located between Elk Run subdivision and Holland Hills. The plan would also include free-market homes for the ranch families and land for up to 36 affordable residences.
The town’s last master plan, completed in 1999, identified only a portion of the spread for inclusion in the urban growth boundary ” an area suitable for urban-style growth.
Critics of the golf club’s application allege that the Meyer ranch shouldn’t be annexed and the application shouldn’t be reviewed since the master plan states that the use of a property will remain as it is unless it is “specifically identified with a future land use designation.”
The majority of council and planning commission members determined in an informal vote last month that they don’t want to delay the club’s application for a land-use planning process. They said enough planning has already taken place.
Cramer talked to town officials in late May about the initiative process. He said it’s not as simple as collecting signatures of eligible voters in the town on a piece of paper. The wording of the initiative has to be carefully crafted to meet legal requirements.
The initiative probably wouldn’t ask voters if they want a golf course or not. Instead it would address the review process.
“The whole gist is to force a proper procedure,” Cramer said.
“I’m not out to get the developer,” he added. “I’m out to make sure (the review) is done right.”
If Basalt residents support the golf course expansion, he said he would be fine with that. It would require about 200 signatures to force an election. That number is equal to 10 percent of the registered electors at the time of the last general election.
“That’s the easy part,” Cramer said. “I could rattle off 50 to 75 people just off the top of my head that would sign a petition,” he said. The hard part is crafting the correct language.
Cramer said he isn’t sure if the initiative will be launched. He is meeting with other opponents of the golf club before deciding whether to pursue it. The biggest obstacle could be lack of time to devote to the effort rather than philosophical differences, Cramer said.
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