Griffin, Mordkin: Big projects in Snowmass require big ideas
When Arnie Mordkin originally ran for a seat on the Snowmass Village Town Council four years ago, he did so because he wanted to get things done. “The council at that time, in my opinion, was a reactive group of people,” said Mordkin, who is running for re-election. “They didn’t come up with ideas, suggestions or concepts.”The economy was suffering, skier days were declining, and he sensed a dismal trend developing. “It seemed like people didn’t wake up, they didn’t do anything,” Mordkin recalled.With a full term under his belt, he still isn’t satisfied. “There are things yet to do.” While the approval of Base Village is a moot issue for the new council, he knows the road ahead is long and bumpy. “There will be carry-over, a number of items left to the new council to deal with.” And his experience, he added, will prove beneficial.
“Continuity is very important, experience is very important,” Mordkin said. “We spent two years approximately before Base Village was ever actually proposed just traveling to other resorts and hearing experts in different areas – retail, food and beverage, construction. There is a knowledge that I have that these other [candidates] aren’t going to have. “That continuity is very, very important.” The Snowmass Center redevelopment, revitalization of the mall and the west village, creation of group sales activities and the elimination of the Snowmass Village Resort Association were all cited by Mordkin as major issues facing the new council. But he would also like to explore the idea of creating an advisory commission for second-home owners in Snowmass Village. Many second-home owners spend large chunks of time in the town, but they cannot vote. Creating an advisory commission will help provide them with a collective voice, he said. “It gives them a heck of a lot more than they have now,” he added.Mordkin is perhaps the most outspoken member of the current Town Council, and the most stubborn. Throughout the review of Base Village he has never hesitated to challenge the applicants, Intrawest and the Aspen Skiing Co., to adjust the plan.
“I’m strong and I don’t buckle under pressure,” he said. “I believe in accomplishing things. I’m proactive, I don’t just sit around waiting for things to happen to me. “I am one of the leaders – I certainly hope – in the community and on the council.” But most of all, Mordkin said he’s his own man. “I’m not in anybody’s camp. The only camp I’m in is the citizens of Snowmass Village.” Steve Benson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.orgBy Allyn HarveyAspen Times Staff Writer
Rick Griffin wants to make it clear that even though his business is selling real estate, he’s not especially “pro-development.”The record of the Snowmass Village Town Council candidate shows a long-standing pattern of support for affordable housing and opposition to development projects he sees as oversized.”You don’t have to be for or against growth. What you need is a focus on the community vision and goals and how to achieve it,” he said.Griffin is a 24-year resident of the valley, and a 20-year resident of Snowmass Village. He’s spent seven and a half years on the Snowmass Water & Sanitation board of directors, and currently sits on the town’s employee housing advisory committee, the Snowmass marketing board advisory committee and the town’s financial advisory board.He sells property through Coates, Reid & Waldron. His real estate career also includes stints managing the Mason & Morse and Snowmass Real Estate Co. offices in Snowmass Village.He’s running for a seat on the post-Base Village council because there are still big-ticket, high-impact projects in the pipeline that he’d like to have a hand in shaping. Specifically, those projects include the redevelopment of the Snowmass Center, a private sector project, and the Entrance to Snowmass at the rodeo grounds, a public sector project that may well involve the construction of a new recreation center.Griffin cautions that the town needs to be “judicious” about how it spends the tax windfalls from big developments such as Base Village and the Snowmass Center. While he supports the construction of a pool and a recreation center, he believes a portion of the money should be set aside for infrastructure maintenance and development.Over the long term, the biggest infrastructure challenge the town faces is water storage. He noted that over the years, the water and sanitation district has acquired the water rights necessary to supply the town as it grows, but is still lacking the reservoirs or other storage means to store the necessary supplies.
Griffin said his involvement as a citizen in the Base Village approval process was centered on trimming the project to a size that worked for residents and the developers. He believes the Town Council should always be aiming to approve the “smallest growth necessary in order to accomplish the community vision.”He defines community vision as the balance between the interests of old-timers, younger residents and second-home owners. To that end, he has been an active supporter of the town’s employee housing program. He was a member of the team that developed the Crossings employee housing neighborhood.He supports the concept of subsidized housing because he doesn’t think there is any way for most employees and small-business owners to compete for property on the free market with second-home owners.”It would be a shame if people who grow up here couldn’t work in a business or start a business of their own and live here,” Griffin said.If he has a criticism of the current council, it’s that it can become too focused on one point of view when making a big decision. Griffin said his background as a real estate broker equips him well for a seat on the council. “Because of what I do for a living, I have to listen. I will bring listening skills to the board, which is extremely important. The council needs to be listening to both the applicant and the residents affected by a project.”The Base Village application has strained the town’s relationships with other governments like Pitkin County, and Griffin believes a big part of the next council’s task will be to repair those ties.”We need to have a good working relationships with other governments in the valley.”Allyn Harvey’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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