Aspen Mayor-elect Steve Skadron outlines plan for city council appointment |

Aspen Mayor-elect Steve Skadron outlines plan for city council appointment

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times

Mayor-elect Steve Skadron has outlined a plan for the appointment process to fill the Aspen City Council seat he is vacating due to his victory in the mayoral runoff on Tuesday.

“Regarding the appointment, my desire is to make the process as transparent as possible,” Skadron said in an email Friday.

Skadron and new council members Art Daily and Ann Mullins will be sworn in during tonight’s regular council meeting, which begins at 5 in the basement of City Hall at 130 S. Galena St. Adam Frisch, elected in 2011, has two years remaining on his first council term. Councilman Torre could not seek re-election to his council seat because of term limits and instead ran for mayor. Skadron ran for mayor with two years left on his second council term, and his victory resulted in the need for the special appointment.

Provisional ballots for the mayoral runoff were certified by the city Election Commission on Friday. Torre took 833 votes, or 47.5 percent of all ballots cast, in losing the runoff election to Skadron, who garnered 920 votes, or 52.5 percent.

The charter requires that the council make the replacement within 30 days of the vacancy. The clock for that deadline starts ticking today. The city does not hold special elections for council vacancies.

Skadron said that through his proposal, applications for the council vacancy will be solicited starting today. They will be due June 18.

On June 19, the names of the applicants and their full applications will be published on the city’s website at Public forums and work sessions on those bidding for the job woud start June 20. Public comments will be accepted either in person or on the city’s website beginning June 20. A vote is expected by July 8, the date of the council’s first meeting next month.

Skadron sent an email to Aspen Chamber Resort Association President and CEO Debbie Braun saying he wanted her help, as well as assistance from local media, in putting on an event that would give the public a chance to scrutinize the applicants for the open seat.

“I’d like the papers to consider hosting a Squirm Night-style event, in the City Hall chambers,” he wrote, “or any other event you deem appropriate.”

Tonight’s meeting will begin with the current City Council makeup, including Mayor Mick Ireland, wrapping up old business. Ireland said he might initiate another discussion on campaign finance transparency, a topic that the council discussed in April but postponed due to lack of support. A proposed ordinance called for a ban on anonymous campaign contributions of less than $20, which are allowed under state law.

Also on tonight’s meeting agenda for the new council is a modified application for townhomes and affordable-housing units from a development company called ASV Aspen Street Owners LLC.

Last year, the group, represented by David Parker, of Bald Mountain Development, lobbied the council to approve a project that called for three separate buildings in the vicinity of Juan and South Aspen streets between Dean and Gilbert streets. One building would have housed an 84,000-square-foot, 76-room lodge. Two other buildings would have contained 35 free-market condominiums, each with a lock-off unit for short-term rentals.

The location near Lift 1A has been the subject of community debate and development plans for many years and formerly was known as the Lodge at Aspen Mountain property. The council gave mixed reviews to last year’s concept for the property, saying the plan was too grandiose and was long on free-market units and short on hotel rooms. Ultimately, the developer pulled its plan, saying the building had to be built large in order for the hotel property to be successful.

The new proposal calls for 24 residential units, of which 14 would be free-market and 10 would be affordable housing. The property already has city approval for 17 affordable-housing units and 14 townhouses.

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