Silverthorne candidates sound off on development, quality of life
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SILVERTHORNE – Silverthorne’s town council candidates found plenty to agree on at Thursday night’s candidate forum, in which five men appealed to voters in the quest for three open seats.
Topics of at the hour-long event included continued development of the town center, stewardship of the Blue River, town finances and affordable housing.
Candidate Darrick Wade said “creating a sense of community” is one of Silverthorne’s top three issues.
“That’s been a challenge in terms of the physical development and sense of place; the people here make up a fantastic community,” Wade said.
All other candidates echoed the sentiment, concurring that a vibrant town center, with the Blue River at its heart, is essential.
Russ Camp said Silverthorne needs to embrace and market the town’s unique character, building upon existing amenities such as the Silverthorne Rec Center, the Silverthorne Pavilion and the Blue River. Dave Anderson said a vibrant town core should serve as an attraction to bring people off the interstate, thereby generating revenues for local businesses and the town government.
David Preaus said stewardship of the river, for both environmental ends and social synergy should be a primary focus of the town council.
On the financial front, candidates Camp and Anderson asserted that the town should do its best to remain debt-free. Stuart Richardson disagreed, saying there may be good reasons for “very careful bonding” to finance capital projects such as development of senior housing or a child-care facility.
The elephant in the room no one mentioned was the pending development applications of both Lowe’s and Home Depot. The town attorney has advised candidates not to speak out specifically on either project, since the council will likely serve as a quasi-judicial body on the projects’ approval in coming months.
Some forum attendees tried subtle means of sussing out the candidates’ positions, asking their opinions on building heights and sales tax subsidies.
Several candidates noted that that town had just completed a lengthy public process to update the town’s development code.
“If, in going forward, the job we have done is not acceptable to a majority of people, we have to have staff rework the town code. But right now, that has already just been done,” Camp said.
“It could be reviewed in the future,” Anderson agreed. “But at some point you need to put the standards in writing and see how it works. To rewrite it today would not be something I would support.”
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