Basalt election: A poll about growth control?
One of the more outspoken incumbents on the Basalt Town Council claims the April 4 election will be a referendum on the current board’s tough stance on growth.
Trustee Anne Freedman suggested at a recent candidate forum that developers are behind the candidacies of some the challengers in the town races for mayor and four trustees.
“I don’t think it’s any secret that there are developers in town who have been very unhappy with this board,” said Freedman.
She said she believes the development community was angry with certain aspects of a new town master plan, such as a 50-foot building setback from the rivers and affordable housing mitigations on new development.
“I think there is a segment of the community that feels anybody but us would be better and more sympathetic to developers,” said Freedman.
But challenger Tiffany Gildred scoffed at the idea that any candidates are pawns of the development industry.
“As far as the us versus them and innuendo about the well-oiled, well-financed opposition being clearly pro-development, it’s absolutely ridiculous and absurd,” she said during the same forum at which Freedman made her comments. “It has no foundation in any kind of fact.”
She said all the candidates are simply civic-minded people who want to preserve Basalt’s small-town charm.
“Obviously the way to do that is to not necessarily control growth, but believe in community-minded growth,” Gildred said. “We can’t keep growth from happening. … You just can’t turn back time.
“So it’s a matter of how we’re going to manage the growth that is inevitable here in Basalt.”
Gildred also insisted she’s running for office to get involved, not to oust someone else. She said it’s important for a town to bring in new blood to leadership and not just rely on the same individuals year after year.
“It’s not about not liking the job that’s being done,” said Gildred.
But Freedman invited citizens to look at the job the board has done. She plugged not only herself, but the other incumbents for accomplishing a lot and completing a progressive agenda.
“I think maybe this election will boil down to a referendum on the last two or three years of this board,” said Freedman.
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