Bert Myrin is third to enter race for Aspen City Council
Local attorney Bert Myrin is the second challenger to announce his candidacy for the Aspen City Council.Currently a member of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, Myrin announced his bid for a council seat on Thursday, following local resident Torre’s declaration this week that he, too, will vie for a council post.The seats held by Councilmen Tony Hershey and Tom McCabe are up for election in May; McCabe is seeking a second term, while Hershey is undecided. Mayor Helen Klanderud has already confirmed she will seek re-election in May and intends to make a formal announcement on Monday.Myrin, 35, expressed dissatisfaction with the current direction of city government on several fronts.”The present thinking – that we can sacrifice our environment to build our way out of economic, transit and housing problems – is a shortsighted solution and will do more harm than good,” he said.”The current thinking of council is, let’s build a new highway rather than work with the one we have; let’s build new suburbs rather than work with what we have; let’s build new commercial spaces rather than filling the vacant spaces we have downtown,” Myrin said. “Instead of building everything new, let’s take everything we have and make the best of it.”Aspen can get better without getting bigger,” he said.Myrin served as treasurer of the Citizens for a Small Town Entrance, which fought realignment of Highway 82 across open space at the western edge of town. Voters rejected the new alignment last November.Like many Citizens members, Myrin said he favors pursuing improvements to the current highway alignment rather than building a new one.He also opposes the as-yet-unbuilt Burlingame Ranch affordable housing development on open land near the Aspen Airport Business Center.”I oppose sprawl, whether it’s free-market sprawl or affordable sprawl, it’s all sprawl,” he said. “I support other solutions.”Among those solutions, Myrin said, is using city housing dollars to “buy down” units in town and deed restrict them as affordable housing – a strategy other city officials contend would be too costly.Myrin said he approached the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Board in hopes of selling a condo he owned in town to the Housing Authority, but found the agency really had no mechanism for creating new deed-restricted housing that way.The Housing Authority could look to purchasing the upper floors of downtown buildings to provide worker housing where it used to exist, he added.As a member of the P&Z, Myrin was the sole member to vote against the proposed infill legislation that is now before the City Council, though he said he supports many elements within the new regulations. For example, Myrin said he supports land-use code changes that make it easier for owners of lodges to upgrade their properties and for multifamily building owners to replace old apartments with better ones.Concerns about losing too many of the town’s views to taller buildings and the elimination of required urban open space as part of new development, however, prompted his vote against the infill package, he said.Myrin said he grew up in Jackson Hole, Wyo. and attended high school at Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale. He moved to Aspen after graduating from college, in 1990, and worked for Continental Airlines and the Aspen Chamber Resort Association before leaving to attend law school in Minnesota. He returned to Aspen and began a law practice, specializing in estate planning and probate, he said.Myrin resides in the West End with his partner of eight years, Walt Madden.[Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is email@example.com]
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