Freedman is first candidate in Basalt Town Council race |

Freedman is first candidate in Basalt Town Council race

Scott CondonThe Aspen TimesAspen, Co Colorado

BASALT – Former Basalt councilwoman Anne Freedman on Thursday became the first candidate to announce entry into the council races in April.Freedman is a slow-growth advocate who said she loves living in the small town and wants to help preserve its charm and feel. The 71-year-old is a retired university professor.Basalt’s official political season starts on Tuesday, the first day that candidates for council can take out nomination petitions. The petitions have to be signed by 25 qualified Basalt electors and submitted to the town clerk by Friday, March 5. The election is April 6.Incumbent Chris Seldin said he won’t seek re-election after serving one term. Incumbents Gary Tennenbaum and Amy Capron haven’t announced their plans. All three seats up for election are for four-year terms.Freedman has been involved with Basalt civic issues since 1998, when she was appointed to the council to fill a term after a resignation. She was elected to a two-year term in 2000, then ran unopposed for a four-year term in 2002. She unsuccessfully ran for mayor against Leroy Duroux in 2004. She was forced out of office by term limits when her council term expired in 2006. She said she is eligible to run again, according to the town’s Home Rule Charter, after sitting out four years.Freedman has stayed involved in town issues by serving the last year on the Planning and Zoning Commission, which advises the council on land-use issues. She said many of the issues the town is facing are the same ones she confronted while in office – redevelopment of the mobile home parks in the heart of the town is a big one.She believes she can help resolve that issue by easing the requirements for redevelopment. The town wants all the trailers to be replaced one-for-one with affordable housing elsewhere in town as a condition of redevelopment.”I’ve never been accused of being soft on developers, but I don’t think that’s reasonable,” she said.Town studies have shown the Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park and the Roaring Fork Mobile Home Park are at high risk of floods. A top town goal is to get the trailers moved off the sites. The flood-prone portions of the trailer parks would be preserved as open space. The other land could be redeveloped.Freedman said her other top goal would be “cleaning up” Willits. Construction of the Willits Town Center went dormant at the start of the recession in fall 2008. A foundation was poured for a Whole Foods Market, but that highly anticipated project is on hold.Freedman said she would like to see the concrete-and-steel skeleton of the foundation covered with heavy plastic, like Related WestPac did to parts of Snowmass’ Base Village when that project stalled. She also wants Willits developer Joseph Freed & Associates to do something with the dirt piles and construction boneyard at the Willits site.Freedman doesn’t believe her reputation as a slow-growth advocate will hurt her during a recession. There are a lot of approvals for residential and commercial development in the pipeline, she said. The lack of construction activity is tied to financing, not local government action, according to Freedman.”I don’t see how, if Basalt approved a lot more, it would help at all,” she said.Other Basalt residents are said to be contemplating a run for office, but none could be confirmed Thursday.The pay that comes with the post could provide extra financial incentive during the recession. Council candidates are paid $800 per month for two official meetings per month, preparation time and contact with constituents. That amounts to $9,600 of supplemental income

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