List of Aspen mayoral, council hopefuls grows |

List of Aspen mayoral, council hopefuls grows

Steve Skadron

The list of potential candidates for Aspen’s open mayoral and city council seats has grown by four.

Planning and Zoning Commissioner Keith Goode, Aspen Pitkin County Housing Authority board member Marcia Goshorn and former housing authority director Tom McCabe will look to contest two Aspen City Council seats set to expire in June. Torre, who served two previous terms on the council, said Wednesday that he will make his fifth bid for the mayor’s seat, which Steve Skadron is seeking to defend.

Councilman Adam Frisch has stated he will seek re-election, and Councilman Dwayne Romero remains undecided, while former Councilman Derek Johnson has expressed interest in entering the race. Prospective candidates, who were able to pick up nomination petitions starting Tuesday, will need to deliver signatures from 25 registered voters by March 9 to advance to the May 5 ballot.

Goode, who is serving his fourth year on the Planning and Zoning Commission, has lived in Aspen for 14 years. Development, employee housing and providing a voice for the restaurant industry are among the topics he will focus on. A Justice Snow’s bartender and former coffee shop owner, he said the food and beverage industry needs representation. Concerning activist Bert Myrin’s proposed home rule charter amendment, which seeks to subject land-use variances to public votes, Goode said he’s glad the movement has forced the council to re-examine how it handles development.

“They’ve known we need code changes in the past. Now, they’re taking their own steps to make that happen,” Goode said, alluding to the council’s decision to explore potential land-use code changes associated with variances.

Goshorn, a 39-year resident and 11-year member of the housing board, said she supports Myrin’s charter amendment. She argued that it will simplify the approval process.

“They’re not going to have to go through years worth of games,” she said.

More involvement from the housing board on the city’s housing decisions will be a priority, she said. The issue today, she argued, is that Aspen builds higher-end products when the demand is for lower-end.

McCabe, who retired as housing director after nine years in October, has formerly served on the council. He could not be reached for comment.

An Aspen resident since 2003, Frisch served as chairman of Pitkin County’s Financial Advisory Board from 2005 to 2011, when he was elected to the council. Affordable housing, community-appropriate lodging, variance control and health and human services are among the key issues for him.

“I think there’s a greater appreciation for the frustration on all sides — development and more importantly the community — and how variances get dealt with,” Frisch said recently of Myrin’s petition.

Torre, who won 47.5 percent of the vote in his failed mayoral bid against Skadron in 2013, has lived in Aspen for 21 years, serving on council between 2003 and 2007 and 2009 and 2013. He said first and foremost, he would like to see residents who aren’t registered to vote do so and become informed on the pending races.

City Hall leadership, development and environmental progress are among Aspen’s pressing issues, he said. On variance control, he said he supports code changes and believes the current process isn’t working for the community or developers.

“I disagree that this legislation would tie the hands of council, as some have said,” Torre said, adding that he thinks the public is smarter than officials give them credit for. “It’s hopefully going to be a big wake-up call to make some code changes.”

Skadron served four years on the city Planning and Zoning Commission and six years on the council before winning a first term as mayor in 2013. When the council opted to draft its own variance language in January, he argued adamantly that the city charter is no place to decide land-use issues, calling Myrin’s proposal a “defacto moratorium.” He argued that not all development is bad and blamed unfavorable structures in Aspen on infill, a controversial package of zoning amendments passed in the early 2000s.

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