AVON, Colorado - There are five people running for three available seats on the Avon Town Council this fall. At least two of those elected this fall will be rookies, since council members Amy Phillips and Kristi Ferarro are leaving due to term limit legislation.
The new members will face issues including the town's budget and transportation system. They may also have to pick up the long-running legal dispute with the developers of the Village at Avon.
We asked the candidates a handful of questions about their own experience and what they would bring to the town council if elected.
Family: Married to Gil Fancher, with two children, Burke, 12, and Mary, 9.
How long have you lived in Avon? I've lived 12 years in Avon, 20 in Eagle County.
Briefly, why should voters elect you? I care deeply about Avon and its future. I am intelligent, level-headed, capable of seeing both sides of issues and a good listener. Therefore, I think Avon residents should vote for me to be a leader on Avon Town Council.
What's your thinking as the legal conflict with Village at Avon proceeds? How could that process be more effective, for the town, the applicants and residents? The situation and the relationship between the town and the developer is regrettable but we all need to move forward. I firmly agree that all sides of the dispute need to adhere to the agreement set forth in 1998.
The Village at Avon encompasses 1,800 acres and when built out will more than double the size of our town. We need to bridge the gap, mend the relationship, and work together at growing a mountain town we can all be proud of.
Sales tax is the lifeblood of towns in Colorado. Given that Avon's options for building the sales tax base are somewhat limited, what are your thoughts on boosting revenues? Avon is in such a central location in our valley and has the bones for great success. Our town can most certainly grow its sales tax base.
The town receives 50 percent of its income from sales tax revenues and there is no reason the percentage can't become larger. The Westin Riverfront is three years old and has been noted as a Conde Nast favorite two years running. Walk into the Northside Kitchen on any given morning and there will be a line. I expect Walgreens to be a huge success.
In a lot of ways it seems that Avon is presently a place enjoying "If you build it they will come." Going forward I think it would be a great idea to create a design standard and offer incentives for current commercial property owners to complete facelifts of their older buildings that fit such criteria. This will help existing businesses and create a magnet for new business as well. I also love to point out that the town of Avon offers a generous transfer tax break for all home buyers of primary residences in Avon, which should be advertised to grow our full time residency.
Let's pretend it's 2016 and you're nearing the end of your term. What do you want the town to have accomplished in that time? Since in 2012 the town broke ground with $9.3 million in grant money to turn the Swift Gulch public works shop into an important regional transportation facility, by 2016 many groups will be using the state-of-the-art bus barn and other energy-efficient facilities. That project will have been completed and in use cooperatively with ECO Transit and others.
By 2016 the "transportation triangle" between Avon, Beaver Creek, and Vail, that I think is a huge priority, will be restored with my help. The development of Main Street will be under way, and Avon's comprehensive master plan will have been updated.
Family: I am married and have two young children.
How long have you lived in Avon? I have lived in Avon for about 10 years.
Briefly, why should voters elect you? Voters should elect me because I have the necessary experience, education, and skill set to make a positive difference for everyone in Avon. I also possess the motivation and drive to make Avon the best place to live and do business for our citizens. Having worked as a planner for three different jurisdictions in Eagle County over the past 12 years, I have a unique understanding of how best to get our community back on track toward a more sustainable and prosperous future.
What's your thinking as the legal conflict with Village at Avon proceeds? How could that process be more effective, for the town, the applicants and residents? The process could be more expeditious and effective for everyone involved by breaking down the conflict into a summary of what the developer has today in terms of development rights, which of these development standards they are requesting be amended and by how much. It would also be very helpful to have a summary of the Settlement Term Sheet so we can all understand what concessions the town and the developer have already agreed to as part of the legal process.
A brief profile of all the other parties to the agreement (the metro district, the water district, the banks, etc.) and their respective roles in this process would be instructive as well.
Sales tax is the lifeblood of towns in Colorado. Given that Avon's options for building the sales tax base are somewhat limited, what are your thoughts on boosting revenues? My thoughts on boosting revenues are in keeping with the basic principles of urban renewal, redevelopment and infill development. In short: we need to make Avon more competitive in this market by giving people, citizens and visitors alike, more and better reasons to be in Avon spending their money. The goals and objectives listed in the east and west town center plans are a departure point for us to use and we can modify these documents to make them a better fit for our community's current economic state. These plans are not perfect and will likely not provide us a panacea, but we can still adhere to their basic principles and realize improvements in time to give people a reason to say, "Let's go to Avon."
Let's pretend it's 2016 and you're nearing the end of your term. What do you want the town to have accomplished in that time? By 2016 I would like to see the town having improved its image as a premier ski town by giving Avon's core an attractive identity and sense of place. Remaking our downtown into a pedestrian-friendly, aesthetically pleasing place for people to just hang out with their friends and family over extended periods of time is crucial. Part of this involves increasing the number of special events held in the core during both the on and off seasons. These events are an opportunity to showcase the town's improvements and provide people with not only fond memories of their time in Avon, but also good reasons to keep coming back here regardless of what season it happens to be.
Family: I am gratefully married 29 years to my terrific wife Virginia. We
have three sons, but our youngest has just gone off to school. so, we
are empty nesters, loving our nest at the top of the world here in Avon!
How long have you lived in Avon? We are in our second home and our sixth year here in Avon.
Briefly, why should voters elect you?
Voters have 4 reasons to elect me:
• Experience in Avon city government and with the Traer Creek application - I am in my second term as an Avon Planning and Zoning commissioner. That will help town council.
• Business and financial experience - I was a corporate executive at Autozone and currently teach business at Colorado Mountain College.
• I live here and care about our future. I'll work hard to improve our appeal to residents, visitors and businesses!
• I'm analytical, focused, efficient and dedicated. I'll bring those things to Avon Town Council.
What's your thinking as the legal conflict with Village at Avon proceeds? How could that process be more effective, for the town, the applicants and residents? The simple answer is to go one step at a time. Without rushing and with plenty of time to review/approve all the necessary details, we can be sure that the best interests of Avon will be served. We all know that it took 18 months to finally approve development at the Westin (a much smaller project); the Traer Creek matter will not take less.
Sales tax is the lifeblood of towns in Colorado. Given that Avon's options for building the sales tax base are somewhat limited, what are your thoughts on boosting revenues? As a planning and zoning commissioner and former retailer, I know how to welcome and encourage businesses. Walgreen's entry tells me that our town and trade area have terrific appeal! We need to sell ourselves to Denver and regional companies and organizations. As a town council member, I will do that personally to guarantee that the growth trend that is now showing itself as a "green shoot" continues to grow.
Let's pretend it's 2016 and you're nearing the end of your term. What do you want the town to have accomplished in that time? I expect that the successful 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships and the improvements around Main Street in the Avon west town center will have breathed some new life into our local economy. New business entry and existing business expansion will have grown our revenue base. Expansion of our town's amenities will add to the desirability of living in and visiting Avon and real estate values will have increased.
Family: Married 35 years to Monica Reynolds. We have two children, Jennifer Gomer (a nurse), married to Dr. Erick Gomer. They have an eight-month-old daughter named Greta Joy and they live in Golden. My son Sean is my partner in The Reynolds Corporation. Sean recently married Ashley MacDonald and they live in their new home in Wildridge.
Briefly, why should voters elect you? Experience, history and knowledge of the town of Avon. I have had my family in this community almost from day one. Also, I have no personal agendas. I want only what is best for the community.
What's your thinking as the legal conflict with Village at Avon proceeds? How could that process be more effective, for the town, the applicants and residents? With litigation still a possibility, I cannot answer this in detail. But I will say that I am looking at the best interest of the community as we move forward.
Sales tax is the lifeblood of towns in Colorado. Given that Avon's options for building the sales tax base are somewhat limited, what are your thoughts on boosting revenues? Year 'round special events in both Beaver Creek and Avon bring in a considerable amount of revenue into our communities. We must look for as many events that our community can support on a year round basis.
Also creating synergy in our town core to draw as many people as possible in to support our restaurants and businesses.
Let's pretend it's 2016 and you're nearing the end of your term. What do you want the town to have accomplished in that time? To see the Village of Avon being developed, to finish the town and create a community that people would want to live in because of the quality of life. And if you are asking what my dreams for our community are, it would be to have mass transit such as a monorail between Eagle County Airport and Denver International Airport.
By the way, if I am elected, this will be my last term in Avon!
Briefly, why should voters elect you? There are many reason voters should elect me. Moving to this valley in 1997, I have come to truly love this amazing place where we live. Avon is in my heart; it is my home, and I am committed to making it the best community possible.
My diverse background, steeped in the arts and education, will help me enrich culture to our town and offer an artistic voice of reason to the Avon Town Council.
The council is already sufficiently equipped with many intelligent members that have building and planning backgrounds. I can add uniqueness and diversity to this group, bringing a perspective that is more closely akin to the general public.
In Avon the median age is 32, and it's 37.3 in the US. Avon has 68.87 percent single residents as compared to only 52.9 percent in the U.S. As a single 30-something, I would like to help give the citizens of my generation and like-mind a voice.
What's your thinking as the legal conflict with Village at Avon proceeds? I see great possibilities for this town, however, how much of the future are we going to squander by hashing out the past? We need to move forward.
As the Village at Avon conflict continues longer and longer, I can't help but to feel disappointed. This problem has been going on for far too long. Every minute passed and every dollar wasted, is a minute and dollar that should be used to pave the future of our town. I think an agreement and finalization need to be actualized, so that we can start seeing some money to cover the costs.
How could that process be more effective, for the town, the applicants and residents?
We need to agree to compromise with both sides giving and taking a little. It is in everyone's best interest to settle the conflict, so let's meet in the middle. Instead of continuing to bury the process in endless stacks of litigation that nit pick each and every detail, let's look at the top things each side would like to see happen and find a conciliation. If we shift the viewpoint from two sides pitted against one another to two sides trying to work together and compromise, I believe we can find a resolution.
Sales tax is the lifeblood of towns in Colorado. Given that Avon's options for building the sales tax base are somewhat limited, what are your thoughts on boosting revenues? The more people we bring into Avon, the more revenue we will generate. Let's make Avon a place where people want to come, a place where things are happening, a place where there is a pulse and a buzz. I believe we could accomplish this by adding events like a farmers' market, a concert series, art shows, ice sculpture exhibits, chili cook offs and barbecues. We need to offer events that draw people young and old, locals and tourists, events that not only generate revenue but also a spawn sense of community.
Let's pretend it's 2016 and you're nearing the end of your term. What do you want the town to have accomplished in that time? I would like the town to recognize the astounding educational accomplishments by the schools. We are home to a National Blue Ribbon School, which was achieved through an astounding amount of hard work and dedication by both the teachers and the students. Their efforts need to be celebrated and nurtured, so that their success continues to increase. If young minds are propagated, they can build a fertile future for this valley.
By 2016 I would like the town of Avon to have changed in the public's eyes. I would like Avon to be a destination town full of life and culture. Instead of people around the world just raving about their vacation to Vail, they will also rave about the time they spent in Avon. Currently, Avon is currently a doormat to Beaver Creek. By 2016, let's make it a world-class gateway!