Opinion | Andrew Aerenson: Quality of life at root of all council efforts
Frisco Town Council candidate
- Occupation: Real estate/business entrepreneur and real estate/business attorney, college adjunct professor of business law and ski instructor at Breckenridge
- Years in Summit County: 5 as a full-time resident. Frequent visitor since 1981.
- Family: Wife, Marci; sons, Caleb, 24, and Travis, 22.
- Civic involvement: The Summit Foundation board of trustees, Rotary Club of Summit County, Summit County Board of Equalization (Assessment Appeals Board), Red Cross disaster supervisor, Breckenridge Heritage Alliance tour guide, Colorado Mountain College Mountain Scholars mentor.
My wife, Marci, and I live in Frisco for the same reason we hear from so many other residents: We value community. Many of Frisco’s residents, business owners and community leaders have told me that they want Frisco to remain a small town with a big sense of community (like a neighborhood).
To effectively manage the issues in Frisco, we need a council with diverse backgrounds and experiences. The perspective I offer comes from my years as an entrepreneur, businessman and real estate/business attorney. My professional expertise for more than 20 years was advising individuals, corporations and charitable organizations through the challenges of buying, selling, owning and managing businesses and real estate. Family, friends and clients describe me as extremely reasonable, logical and respectful. Decisions only get made after exploring all sides of an issue. Finding common ground among adversarial parties is always the goal.
All the candidates and voters mostly agree on the important priority issues facing Frisco’s residents, like workforce housing, day care costs, long day care waiting lists, short-term rentals, sustainability concerns, open space and over-building. Often, those issues are a result of economic and geographic influences that extend beyond the boundaries of Frisco and are often beyond the control of Frisco Town Council. To solve these major issues, we need a cooperative effort with the county, other Summit County towns, the state and the federal government. This reality creates complicated relationships. Frisco must work toward solutions while taking strong positions to protect its interests as outside entities propose solutions with significant consequences (Fiester Preserve, Lake Hill, Interstate 70 and Colorado Highway 9 expansions, and federal land management). From the perspective that we generally agree on the major issues facing Frisco, I submit that it is important to prioritize the approach and methods council uses to successfully manage solutions.
Work with neighboring governments
Because Frisco is relatively small and our budget is limited, we must work with the state, county and other Summit County towns to resolve the major countywide issues, including workforce housing, child care, sustainability and traffic. We need to be an active participant in the process and receive assurances that proposed solutions will respect the critical community elements that are so valuable to our residents and businesses.
Implement decision-making criteria
Council must make decisions that encourage Frisco to continually improve its standing asthe best mountain town/neighborhood. When making decisions, council should be directed by the following criteria:
1. Identify and nurture the very best ideas and opportunities by encouraging open participation by the best professionals and all stakeholders.
2. Plan ways to manage our popularity so the quality of life in Frisco is positive every day. If we are going to host hyper-popular events (barbecue fest, fireworks, Mardi Gras) or propose facility upgrades (marina, peninsula, rec area, Walter Byron Park), then there must be a focus on how the events or capital improvement projects impact the local community’s quality of life.
3. Integrate environmental thinking into all of our decisions. We need to implement the best practices of sustainability for ourselves and as a display of good governance to our visitors.
4. Ensure that all residents share in the successes of our thriving town. Our residents include the rich and the poor, the old and the young, artists, entrepreneurs, retirees, skiers, snowboarders, backcountry enthusiasts and even those who prefer to be inside with a good book. If council focuses too much on one group at the expense or exclusion of another, then we will lose the character (and characters) that makes Frisco Frisco.
Focus on quality of life
Focus on and make decisions that improve our day-to-day quality of life. There are areas within the town’s control that are integral to our love of Frisco. We must identify what we “tolerate” and try to make improvements. It is the job of every councilperson to learn about these neighborhood annoyances and move toward a solution. Examples of what we tolerate are things like dog droppings (especially in mud season), a difficult building permit approval and construction process, parking issues and terrible cellphone service (not really a town controlled issue but a major intolerance). On the positive side, our snow removal management is remarkable, summer Thursday concerts are the perfect fit for Frisco, our water is excellent and our open spaces are generally clean. We must continually strive to move issues from the tolerance column to the positive quality-of-life column.
Andrew Aerenson is one of five candidates for three open seats on Frisco Town Council.
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