Dillon: Three candidates running for 3 seats
DILLON – With three candidates running unopposed, Dillon candidates are talking about future goals for the town rather than looking over their shoulders at the ballot box.
Incumbent Councilmembers Judee Cathrall and Ben Raitano do not face challengers to retain their seats.
Councilmember Jim Dover is term-limited and town planning commissioner Noel Hess is running unopposed to take his place.
Christopher Orchard filed to be a write-in candidate on the town ballot, meaning voters would have to write his name on their ballot instead of selecting from the printed list of candidates who filed petitions in a timely manner.
Orchard did not participate in the town forum, nor did he respond to the Summit Daily News survey of candidates that will be published Thursday.
The three primary topics of the three candidates’ discussions have included helping the flailing town core business area, potential annexations and the town’s master plan update.
“We need to get the people here, in the town core, especially in the winter,” Cathrall said.
Raitano and Hess agreed.
Hess said he didn’t like the idea of extending incentives to bring anchor businesses to town because, “we have people here who we did not give any incentives to.”
Hess is a veteran and a retired engineer. He graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in engineering and received his master’s business degree from the University of Dayton. He formerly owned a consulting engineering business.
The candidates said they would consider actively searching for anchors such as antiques stores, miniature golf, an expensive restaurant or a food emporium to lure people off Highway 6.
Raitano said town officials are interested in talking with core-area landowners about potential redevelopment initiatives.
When the post office and drug store left the core, the traffic through the area dwindled.
The candidates were asked about how they felt about approving density increases.
“It depends on where you’re talking about,” Raitano said.
“If you’re talking about the town core, then density increases are fine. But if you’re talking about along Highway 6 in the fen area near the cemetery, I’d like to see that area preserved as open space.”
All three candidates said they were unsure about a potential annexation of Keystone, Summit Cove or Dillon Valley.
“It’s a good idea to look into if we are asked. The neighborhood group that asked has been stunningly silent and (Keystone Resort) said it is investigating,” Cathrall said.
“Even though it’s not required, I would advocate for a vote by Dillon citizens when the facts are known if we do receive an annexation request.”
Cathrall has been on the board of directors of the Lake Dillon Foundation of the Performing Arts for eight years. The former English professor and nurse now represents the town on the Northwest Council of Governments and at the Rural Resorts Region association.
Town officials are participating in preparations for talks with Denver Water about Dillon Reservoir levels and water supplies for the area.
Christine McManus can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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