Council hopefuls speak: Part 3 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 three in a six-part series with the candidates. (Read part one and two at www.aspentimes.com.)
Today’s question: Where do you stand on Referendum 1 and why?
I don’t support Referendum 1. Two very complicated city projects that I worked on while on (Aspen City) Council, and which were both successful public/private partnerships (very rare and difficult to accomplish at any time), were the (Aspen Recreation Center) and Obermeyer Place. It is hard to believe that they would exist but for the ability of the council to bargain with the developers. The new (Aspen) Art Museum upsets me too, but throwing the baby out with the bath water (Referendum 1) is not in the town’s best interest. Think of how well (the Taxpayer Bill of Rights) has not served the citizens of Colorado as another example of tantrum politics.
I support a “yes” vote. I believe that the (Home Rule) Charter amendment will encourage City Council to thoughtfully legislate zoning by zone district with a clear and fair set of rules that apply to everyone equally. The citizens of Aspen are exhausted — constant negotiations and moving of the goal posts through variances and meetings that last until 1:30 a.m. Citizens, developers and homeowners deserve to know what the rules are, and they should be able to have a say in important cases where public assets are given away. If projects simply meet the code, there won’t be any public votes.
I signed the petition. I plan to vote for Referendum 1. I personally have lost trust with the process and the communication between council and the voting public.
I support and helped draft the language for Referendum 1. The practice of granting variances one property at a time has occurred several times over the last two years with the Hotel Aspen, Molly Gibson and Base1 lodge. This is an invitation to destructive speculation.
Investors are encouraged to buy a property for redevelopment with implicit understanding that the council will waive height or mass restrictions and reduce or eliminate housing and parking. The investors pay a premium on property and come to council arguing that their development or redevelopment is unworkable unless the community shoulders some of the burden.
The land-use codes have needed clarification and revision for many years, but it has not happened. The referendum is not something to be feared. If the referendum passes, the City Council is still the only group charged with revising the codes, and the referendum changes their focus to the necessity of the task. The codes need to be changed with the input of people that have the knowledge of construction, development and the desires of the community for the future.
“We have to encourage the future we want rather than try to prevent the future we fear.” — Bill Joy, co-founder of Sun Microsystems
I believe it should go to the voters. If they want to be involved with the process then they’ll make that clear. I believe it’s a good thing. Although it should not stop us from updating code.
This is a bad direction for our community, regardless of how one feels on heights. The main frustration I hear are the larger new buildings that were approved by prior councils. The real problem is the maximum allowed height was not lowered soon enough, not that there are variances. I say this based on facts: First, the two largest buildings (the Aspen Art Museum and the Core building — on the former Boogie’s parking lot) do not have a single height variance. Second, by a total vote of 18-1, council approved four recent lodge projects that had a series of small technical variances, including a few small height variances. This shows that variances are not the underlying issue. The community will not be well served by a 6,000 person citywide homeowners association.
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