McCabe seeks second term

Naomi Havlen
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Aspen City Councilman Tom McCabe said Monday he will run for a second term.

McCabe had mentioned plans to get re-elected over the past few weeks, but invited reporters to his shop, Aspen Repair, to make his campaign official. He decided to run for re-election because he finds the job “challenging and interesting,” he said from behind the counter, standing in front of a display of vacuum bags and belts.

His campaign will be similar to the one he ran in 1999 supporting affordable housing, slow growth, and infill in downtown Aspen. McCabe pointed to many promises he made to the community during his first campaign that he and other council members accomplished in the past few years.

The council endorsed the formation of a rural transportation authority, established an urban growth boundary and has created an opportunity for mixed zoning in town through the Obermeyer project, he said.

McCabe’s newer personal policies include a push on building for-purchase affordable housing before building affordable rental units, until the economy improves and demand increases.

“I’ve always been a champion of affordable housing – I believe in it, and I live in it – but economic conditions have changed so that we’re refocusing a tad,” he said. “The rental list isn’t near as long as it used to be. I’m not in a hurry to produce any rental housing at the moment, but certainly the demand for single-family housing is high.”

He also is interested in pursuing water conservation as a big issue for the council, along with encouraging the use of xeroscaping (using native plants that take less water to survive) at public projects and private homes.

McCabe moved to Aspen after graduating from the University of Maryland in 1972 and opened Aspen Repair a year later. Now 57, he said he appreciates the ways in which Aspen is a model community, from affordable housing programs to building codes and a large transportation system.

While McCabe is a strong advocate of the modified direct alignment for Highway 82 across the Marolt/Thomas open space, he also said he must support the community’s November vote to stick with the S curves configuration.

“To me it seems like they voted to do nothing, but the community can choose to do that, and that’s what I live with,” he said. “For the short-term future, there’s no money to do anything, and there’s no need to examine it further – all of the plans are tucked away in a drawer. If we wake up someday and people change their minds, we’ll already have that done.”

In the meantime, McCabe said he does support increased and improved bus service in the valley as a transit alternative.

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