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Carbondale candidates debate issues

Gina GuarascioCarbondale correspondent
Barry Maggert
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Carbondale Board of Trustees candidates debated such election issues as a hard cap on commercial building sizes and taxes during a forum Thursday night.

Questions from the audience and comments from the candidates kept coming back to those issues. But a number of other issues, such as historic preservation and the role of nonprofits, played a part in the debate.

Four candidates are running for three trustee seats. John Foulkrod, Stacey Patch Bernot and Scott Chaplin are the incumbents, and Barry Maggert is challenging. Maggert, however, consistently referred to his opponent as Chaplin.

Chaplin is the only trustee to maintain that imposing a hard cap of 60,000 square feet on buildings is a good idea. The hard cap is a recommendation of Carbondale’s Economic Roadmap Group, a committee of residents who came together after a referendum succeeded in derailing the Crystal River Marketplace proposal in July 2003.

Marketplace developers proposed putting a big-box retailer on their 24-acre site.Carbondale has been in negotiations with Marketplace developers to try to come up with some kind of development option that works for both sides.

Foulkrod, Bernot and Maggert seemed aligned in their answers to questions about Carbondale’s future. But they were vague about whether they are running as a slate.

“We’re a Libertarian, a Democrat and a Republican,” Maggert said of himself, Foulkrod and Bernot. “It’s clear tonight we agree on a lot of economic issues.”

Maggert is an outspoken Libertarian who is opposed to government involvement in anything other than what he calls the basics, which he lists as roads, utilities and police.

Chaplin, on the other hand, supports town involvement in everything from affordable housing and environmental issues to creating a nonprofit incubator center.In the mayoral race, Trustee Russ Criswell is challenging Mayor Michael Hassig. Much of their general policy sounds the same. The big difference between the candidates is that Criswell championed a majority on council to forward the idea of imposing a building size cap in February. Hassig voted against it.


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