10 vie for 3 open seats on Carbondale town board | PostIndependent.com

10 vie for 3 open seats on Carbondale town board

John ColsonPost Independent staffGlenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Kelley Cox Post Independent

CARBONDALE, Colorado – In the April 3 municipal election, 10 candidates are running for three open seats on the Carbondale Town Board of Trustees.In addition, voters are being asked to affirm or reject a ban on plastic shopping bags at large grocery stores. In Carbondale’s case, the ban would apply only to the City Market store on Highway 133.The ballot question, which challenges a bag ban passed by the town board of trustees last year, reads: “Shall the Town of Carbondale approve Ordinance 12, which would require grocery stores larger than 3,500 square feet in size to cease the distribution of disposable plastic bags and instead offer disposable paper bags for a fee of 20 cents per bag to all customers?”A “yes” vote would uphold the bag ban.Regarding the race for board seats, the Post Independent sent candidates a questionnaire to learn more about their experience and their vision for Carbondale’s future, and received nine sets of answers in return.Candidate Sean Keery has been out of town and unavailable, despite numerous attempts to contact him.Running for re-election are incumbents John Hoffmann and Pam Zentmyer. Also seeking seats are challengers James Breasted, Lorey Esquibel, Allyn Harvey, Keery, Bill Lamont, Doc Philip and Stacy Stein.Current board member Ed Cortez is leaving the board due to term limits.The top three vote-getters will win the four-year seats.Voters can learn more about the candidates by checking out audio or video recordings of a March 12 candidates’ forum.Audio recording are available on the website of Carbondale’s community access radio station, KDNK (www.kdnk.org).Video from the same forum are being run periodically on Carbondale Community Access Cable Television Channel 10. The forum will be aired at 7 a.m., noon, 7 p.m. and midnight today and on March 24 and 31.The municipal election comes close on the heels of the controversial Village at Crystal River election fight. For a second time, Carbondale voters rejected a development plan for 24 acres of open ground along Highway 133.But while the hangover from that election has colored the campaigns for town board, it has not been the only, or even the primary, issues of concern.At the March 6 forum, the VCR was the first question asked by moderator Frank Slogar.But other questions, submitted in advance, touched on subjects ranging from limits on medical marijuana shops to how the town should handle commercial growth on Highway 133 versus the historic downtown area.Last week, voters began receiving their ballots in the mail-only election.Town Clerk Cathy Derby recommended that ballots be completed and mailed back to Town Hall, with the proper postage, no later than Thursday, March 29, to ensure they will be delivered by election day.Late voters should plan to hand deliver their ballots to Town Hall no later than 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3.Replacement ballots can be picked up at Town Hall from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day.

74, draftsman (land surveying), Aspen Cross Country Center employee, ski bum.17 years in Carbondale1. City of Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission; Aspen City Council (early 1970s), original Open Space Advisory Board, Aspen School District School Accountability Committee, Pitkin County Planning and Zoning Commission, Carbondale P &Z, Master Plan Advisory Committee, Carbondale Trustee (appointed), Red Hill Council.2. The most pressing issue facing Carbondale is how to weather the current economic storm without losing our heads.3. I voted against it for two reasons: First, because I thought the actual physical plan was mediocre (I was trained as an architect), and second because I don’t believe that more retail space is what Carbondale needs at this time.4. I would love to see a beautifully landscaped section of Highway 133 from the bridge over the Roaring Fork to at least as far south as the fire station.5. In the 17 years I have lived here, Carbondale has grown on me more and more because it is in such a beautiful place in the valley and has continued to retain its small-town character. I would be vigilant to preserve that character.6. I haven’t yet taken a position.

48, self employed11 years in Carbondale1. I have no history of local public service, as of yet.2. Smoothing tension amongst the people. We are all after keeping Carbondale special. I believe it’s the people that make it so, not the buildings. First Fridays, Third Street Center, Clay Center, I could go on and on. We have it good here.3. Yes, because I think the property owner has rights to build within code. I was not happy with final choice of buildout, but that is not for me to decide. Just because there are many homes flooding the market, doesn’t mean we can tell someone they cannot build the home of their choice on their land. City Market is more than 30 percent of our sales tax revenue. If it wants a new space to own, we should work to help make that happen. Sometimes a vote is not for what I want, but for what is allowed. 4. I like the idea of one lane in either direction with a turn lane in the middle to keep traffic moving. We should be working with the state to get the needed funds to make that happen as soon as possible. 5. We should be encouraging new business to come here, all types. We have an awesome artistic community, nonprofits for all to enjoy, fairs and events all year. Let’s open it up some more.6. Not sure on this one, do not know enough to answer, need more research.

50, accounting manager, Mercy & Sharing nonprofit19 years in Carbondale1. Carbondale Planning & Zoning Commission, CCAH Mountain Fair Board, Three Rivers Little League, Rams Booster Club, Parent Accountability Committees, Cub Scout and Girl Scout leader.2. The lack of jobs available in our community. When our community members leave town for work, they are less likely to patronize or spend money in the businesses in our town. In order for Carbondale to truly be sustainable, we must be able to balance the needs of the community with a diverse variety of sales and services that not only create a healthy tax base but provide a livelihood for the people of our community.3. I voted yes. Although I was not completely in favor of the residential portion, the development proposal was the result of eight years of intense, direct public and community collaboration with the developer who positively responded to the input, presenting a plan that the community guided. The development plan provided opportunities for Carbondale beyond simply a shopping mall, with diverse options for job growth and increased sales tax revenue.4. Highway 133 is not living up to its potential as the gateway to Carbondale. I would like to focus attention, time and money to improving the safety and the visual impact of Highway 133 between Highway 82 and Main Street.5. While Carbondale has a terrific reputation for the arts and music scene and fabulous restaurants, we much also look at ways to attract retail and light manufacturing and industrial businesses to provide a balance of necessities to the community and support to our nonprofits. Some say Carbondale is viewed as difficult and “closed for business.” I would like to help change that perspective and encourage businesses that can provide essential products or services currently lacking.6. I am not adequately educated on this issue to take a position. I know and respect many of the people on both sides of the issue. As I am sure the issue is not black and white, I would take the opportunity as a trustee to learn more before committing to a position.

47, public relations and communication consultant11 years in Carbondale1. Founding board member, Sopris Sun, Carbondale Community Food Co-op, Locals for Smarter Growth, Question 4E Campaign Committee, Carbondale & Rural Fire Protection District, Roaring Fork Leadership’s Collaborative Solutions Advisory Board, downvalley representative for Aspen Lift 1A COWOP.2. We need a board of trustees that is more in tune with the values and needs of the community. It is time to turn our attention away from the VCR property, and instead focus on building community capital by supporting existing business and nonprofits, and enhancing neighborhoods through programming, possible open space purchases and bicycle and pedestrian enhancements.3. I voted no, and I helped lead the effort against the project as an executive committee member for Locals for Smarter Growth. I was against VCR because it was a suburban-style development proposal that would alter the character of our rural community, and because it required a significant subsidy from taxpayers.4. Highway 133 definitely could stand some improvements. We need to remember, however, that it is a state highway, and the Colorado Department of Transportation has committed funding for upgrades. Carbondale should continue to work with CDOT to develop road improvements that improve traffic flow, business and neighborhood access, and aesthetics.5. First we need to support the great businesses and energetic people who live and work here. Carbondale has a reputation for great food, arts and fun, thanks in part to their energy and commitment. The town should help build on that reputation and boost existing businesses and other community activities in order to attract new business to town.6. There should be no new drilling on public lands in the Thompson Divide area. I fully support the efforts of the Thompson Divide Coalition to reasonably compensate lease holders and pass legislation barring future energy development. The area supports our economy and local environment in important ways and deserves protection.

61, artist and blacksmith42 years in Carbondale1. Mountain Fair founding group, Save the Penny Hot Springs Group, Trails Committee, West Elk Loop Scenic and Historic Byway Steering Committee, Carbondale Trustee, Rocky Mountain Rail Authority, RFTA board, Garfield Clean Energy, Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, Rural Resort Region, Regional Transportation Continuity Council, Inter-Mountain Transportation Planning Region, BiPeT Commission, E-Board, Crystal Valley Environmental Association, Mount Sopris Historical Society, Senior Matters, Wake Up Now, Comp Plan Group, 133 Access Control Plan Group, CDOT 133 Project Leadership Team, Boy Scouts.2. Highway 133 is being studied now to determine how it will function going into the future. The town and CDOT have $4.4 million to spend on improvements. Our current design shows a four-lane with raised divider and eight stoplight-controlled intersections. I’m working to find a better way that is safer and pedestrian-gracious to treat our highway.3. Though the current VCR plan came through the complete process over four years, using ideas from the Road Map Committee, and promising an energy-efficient grocery and a LEED neighborhood development, I voted against it. The PIF on groceries was intolerable and the developer’s 8 percent, 25-year bond through the VCR metro district for highway improvements that only benefited VCR, was too expensive.4. Someday a four-lane roundabout with a pedestrian underpass will clean up the air and keep traffic moving smoothly through the interchange.5. By limiting the size of new retailers to 60,000 square feet, Carbondale could send the message that we are open to entrepreneurial retail. Our growth industry is young, imaginative professionals who want a healthy lifestyle, and retirees living here because of a desire to be surrounded with beauty. This gives us a variety of industries construction, health and medical services, niche shopping, light manufacturing, art, entertainment, dining and recreation.6. It is a testament to the insight and courage of the people and institutions here that we understand how fragile our hold is upon the few remaining tracts of roadless areas in the country. Thompson Divide is a narrow band of pristine forest pressed between the industrialized gas patch and mini megalopolis of the Roaring Fork Valley. The pressure to develop is huge and relentless. Left uncontested it would scar and poison every inch of the land we love.

78, retired city planner12 years in Carbondale1. Garfield Library District Board, Roaring Fork Re-1 School Board, Economic Road Map Committee, Blue Ribbon Finance Committee, Comprehensive Plan Revision Committee, lay leader of Carbondale Methodist Church, Advocates for Carbondale Education, Little League Baseball and middle school football coaching, Re-1 mill levy override and bond issue campaigns.2. Understanding what our financial situation is at present and what the future demands, as a community we can then engage in a positive discussion of our future. Where do we spend our efforts and our resources to assure that Carbondale continues to be a great place to live? This basic information will put everyone on the same page to start the discussion.3. I supported the VCR proposal. First, for the integrity of the process. Four years of working with the town staff and trustees to meet their requirements should have been honored. Secondly, we need retail services for families and to generate revenues (we live primarily off the sales and use tax) to provide the services and support the community activities we enjoy.4. We are presently working through that issue in the comprehensive plan revsion. We need to enhance our entry to our community while improving traffic safety and flow. Three lanes now, with the ability to expand to four if necessary, will probably be the Colorado Department of Transportation’s solution with our support.5. That issue needs the revenue study to precede it. Are we seeking economic development for revenues, jobs or services of some sort? No community pursues economic development simply to grow unless it is a dying community and is simply trying to survive. The community with facts in hand can come together and identify why, and then what, is feasible. I have had the opportunity to participate in such efforts as a planner.6. I think where that is headed is right. I support our congressmen in their current efforts, while attempting to buy out the development rights.

64, psychologist, chiropractor, acupuncturist nutritionist25 years in Carbondale1. Rio Grande Trail committee, Carbondale’s Tree Town USA certification, fed two homebrews to developer Bob Howard, which contributed to his inclusion of affordable housing in what became River Valley Ranch, helped initiate Carbondale Environmental Board; created Carbondale Dandelion Ale; was part of creation of Spring Gulch cross-country ski area.2. Part of it’s the number of people. Carbondale needs to keep its population down. Carbondale should secede from the Union and become its own nation state and legalize marijuana, so people would spend time getting happy instead of reproducing.3. Against. The town needs to buy it, develop the downtown area instead. The VCR site needs to be kept as complete open space, or used for local agriculture.4. They can leave it the way it is. I think the state and the county will already be looking after that.5. Carbondale can’t grow, population-wise, much more than it has. But we could become a separate nation state and sponsor seminars, and people would come here from all over to learn how to deal with the crises of polluted air and water, and learn how to have fun. 6. There should be zero drilling. That’s just going to pollute the water. They have to be stopped. The planet’s going to run out of gas and oil, and if the entire White River National Forest is drilled, we’re going to have no national forest here.

32, executive director Andy Zanca Youth Empowerment ProgramCarbondale resident since 20101. Carbondale Environmental Board, Carbondale Community Co-op Board, volunteer with KDNK, the Food Co-op, LIFT-UP, Dandelion Day and Mountain Fair, certified elementary school teacher.2. Sustainable economic development. I have sustainable values and look at how issues impact relationships in the community, the environment and economic vitality.2. I voted against the Village at Crystal River because I think we need to focus development on what we already have. The Third Street Center is a great example of infill development. 3. I support a sign to encourage drivers to turn off Highway 82 and enter the beautiful town of Carbondale. 4. We have unique restaurants (some serving local food), unique music venues, and recreation opportunities unlike anywhere else. Another economic development opportunity is encouraging energy conservation. Through a reduction in energy costs, people will have more money in their pockets to spend locally.5. I will make decisions that protect and preserve our natural resources. Carbondale has some of the highest water quality in the state. I will educate myself and work with other elected officials and citizens groups to protect the Thompson Divide area from natural gas drilling.

42, did not respond to the Post Independent’s questionnaire.Keery ran for election to the Carbondale Board of Trustees in 2008, but withdrew from the campaign in late March, 2008.At the time, he was working as the technology services manager at Stay Aspen Snowmass, according to information published at the time by The Valley Journal.Keery told the Journal that he had worked with local governments, nonprofits and community businesses starting in 1991, had lived in employee rental housing and had purchased a deed-restricted home. He described himself as a commuter and daily user of RFTA, and a board member of the Aspen Skiing Co. Environment Foundation.More current information was not available at press time, nor was a photograph.

36, bookkeeper22 years in Carbondale, off and on, from age 5 1. I’ve served on the Carbondale Board of Trustees for the past four years. Through that I’ve worked a bit with other boards. After college I worked for Americorps teaching English at an elementary school in Boulder. 2. There are two pressing issues facing Carbondale: protecting our clean air and water, and stabilizing our economy. I would work to educate our citizens about the threats to our clean air and water and hope to find a collective position we can all support. I think we can stabilize our economy through further developing our tourism market. 3. I voted four times regarding the VCR; three times as a trustee and once as a citizen. As a trustee I voted against an approval of the project, voted for a denial of the project and voted for an approval contingent on the voters, which ended up passing. As a citizen I voted against the project. 4. I’m less concerned with the entrance to Carbondale than I am with funding other improvements. Our money would be better spent in attracting people to town and improving the parts of town they will gather in. Spending significant money developing a small piece of ground we will fly by at 50-plus miles per hour doesn’t make sense to me. 5. We should work toward promoting Carbondale as a tourist destination. We have year-round outdoor entertainment options, reasonable lodging prices, great dining, charming shops and fantastic events for tourists to enjoy. The Front Range is full of people seeking a quick and low-cost getaway. The drive time is reasonable enough for a weekend or longer. Tourism is a long-term, stable revenue stream. 6. Gas development would be tragic for Carbondale. The environmental impacts could destroy our forests and wildlife, permanently affect our clean water and threaten our clean air. Ideally, I would love to see the land remain untouched as it is. Realistically, I know we must work to protect ourselves as best we can should development move forward by testing and monitoring our water and air.

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