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Reaching consensus is key to Groneman’s candidacy

Karen Bowers

Coming Friday

In Friday’s Summit Daily News opinion page, Mayor Lou DelPiccolo and Councilwoman Sheila Groneman, in their words, tell Silverthorne voters why they should be chosen as mayor.

Editor’s Note: In the April 2 Silverthorne election, neither Sheila Groneman nor incumbent mayor Lou DelPiccolo received more than 50 percent of the votes for mayor. The two face a runoff election May 7.

This is the second of a two-part series outlining the goals and aspirations for each Silverthorne mayoral candidate. The first story appeared April 25.

SILVERTHORNE – Bottom line, said Councilwoman Sheila Groneman, she and Mayor Lou DelPiccolo have the same vision – they both want what is best for Silverthorne.

“It’s just,” she said, “we see things differently. We have different styles. Different approaches.”

Her style, she said, is “facilitative”.

“I’ve said it before, but I do think it’s more of a woman’s leadership style. It’s more open.”

Certainly, her desire to reach a consensus on difficult issues and to explore matters with a “citizens council,” business owners, “key stakeholders” and even “neighbors close to Silverthorne” – are key to her candidacy.

She’d like to see the town council make decisions “everyone can live with.”

That possibility, however, seems less likely as Silverthorne grapples with the issue of growth and annexation; the question of whether to permit the Silver Mountain Village and Blue River Club developments to go forward not only has divided residents, it has created something of a rift between town residents and those who live just outside its borders.

Groneman and DelPiccolo are at the heart of that controversy – albeit on opposite sides.

Groneman’s recent decision to back off efforts to approve and annex Silver Mountain Village has earned her the endorsement of Silverthorne Area Neighborhoods for Responsible Growth (SANFRG), a grassroots group of town and county residents that was formed specifically to voice objection to recent development projects (in particular the commercial portion of Silver Mountain Village).

Groneman emphasizes that she did not seek out SANFRG’s endorsement, although she’s happy to have it. “As an elected official I’m always glad to receive the support of a group of people,” she said

“It’s important to talk to the neighbors close to Silverthorne,” she added. “We have a lot of commonalities … we need to sit at the same table and talk sometimes.

“I’m open to hearing what anybody has to say,” she said. “Does that influence the decisions I have to make? Sometimes. But do I make decisions based on what is best for the town of Silverthorne? Absolutely. I love Silverthorne.”

That position won her points with SANFRG members, and her take on who should get her council seat if she is elected mayor pleases many of them, as well.

Although it is not the mayor’s decision to make, she said she would like to see the next-highest vote getter from the April 2 town council election be appointed to her council seat.

That person would be John Sabal, who also was endorsed by SANFRG for his stance opposing the Silver Mountain Village Development. If Sabal is appointed to the seat, the council would be weighted against annexation.

Even if Sabal is not appointed, if Groneman is elected mayor, she could decide to back Councilman Howard Hallman’s wish to put the annexation issue to a vote of Silverthorne residents.

Either way, it could be bad news for those who want to see the Silver Mountain Village and Blue River Club developed sooner rather than later.


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