Aspen City Council hopefuls sound off: Part 2 of 6
The Aspen Times
The seven candidates for two open Aspen City Council seats are Adam Frisch, Mick Ireland, Bert Myrin, Marcia Goshorn, Andy Israel, Keith Goode and Tom McCabe. This is part two in a six-part series with the candidates. (Read part one here.)
Today’s question: What is the No. 1 issue facing Aspen, and how do you plan to address it?
Development/redevelopment poses the most challenging choices for Aspen. I plan to address those challenges with a perspective that respects property rights while understanding that slow growth is the best kind of growth if one wants to avoid large mistakes.
We are not practicing the Golden Rule. Our community is being overwhelmed by the resort and a minority that feels entitled to do whatever they want based on their own self-interest instead of the overall good of the community. The community needs better representation in City Hall, and I’ll be your voice for Aspen, the community. If we do the right thing for the community, I believe everything else will follow.
Quality of life. That’s the No. 1 issue facing Aspen. I remember when people came to Aspen to experience nature and the mountains and to get away from every day life. Now it seems like Aspen has every day problems like traffic, housing shortage, business, expansion, cost of living, parking, climate change — there are lots issues. Contrary to some, I do not believe people visit Aspen because of the built environment. Of an immediate nature, Referendum 1 is the most pressing issue. It will directly impact Aspen’s near-term future. In the mid-term, I’d say climate change is a real threat to Aspen as we know it.
The No. 1 issue facing Aspen is, as it always has been, how do we foster a strong local economy while preserving the beauty, character and environment?
We cannot afford to pretend that new lodges and free-market second homes and penthouses won’t require more workers and won’t strain our parking and transportation capacity. People will drive, and employers will need workers. If development doesn’t pay its own way by meeting the housing and parking requirements in our code, we taxpayers will have to foot the bill.
This election is not about just about one issue. They are all interconnected. If you make a mistake on one issue it can trickle down to every other aspect of the community and cause unintended consequences. I would like to look at all decisions made going forward with all the possible scenarios thought about, not just the version where nothing ever goes wrong. We have had too many situations in recent history where we are bitten by unintended consequences and emergency ordinances.
Aspen’s most pressing issue is how to reconcile the extremes between high commercial real estate costs and the needs of its full time residents. The real estate situation in Aspen is the major factor for our increasing population of retirees and the younger set, as well as the diminishing full time residents replaced with part timers. Finding a balance and understanding with property owners is the only way to bridge this gap.
The community’s continuous cycle of unproductive and reactionary land use code initiatives that have been counterproductive to community values, including the 2012 failed emergency ordinance and Referendum 1 on this May’s ballot. While they have been proposed by well-meaning people, a comprehensive discussion needs to revolve around more than just “heights” or “variances.” To be clear, I am fully supportive of keeping our current 28-foot height limit in the core, but there are other aspects of a successful land use code that need to be considered to reflect the spirit and intent of the Aspen Area Community Plan’s desire to keep our small town character.
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The alleged attack Tuesday on a woman walking alone in Aspen’s East End by a man she didn’t know is rare in this small mountain town, and police are acting accordingly.