Avon mayor worried about urbanization
AVON – Buz Reynolds, Jr. is an independent county commissioner candidate for a reason.He has environmental concerns. While in Europe recently, he was astounded to discover how a small Austrian town develops energy for heat: By burning the town’s trash.He also has concerns about too much government involvement. He believes the business of building housing should be a private enterprise, which is why he wags his finger a bit at Eagle County’s Miller Ranch project.He believes in private property rights and acknowledges how important the construction industry is to the local economy. But he laments the urbanization of Eagle County and has plenty of worries about what will happen to local workers when there’s nothing left to build, he said. Reynolds, who has been involved in local politics for more than a decade, said he was approached by Republicans and Democrats to run on their respective tickets for a county commission seat in 2004. He turned down both. Reynolds doesn’t want to be trapped into the loyalty of one group of people, he said. “I don’t want to betray the people who would back me,” he said. A resident of Eagle County since 1976, Reynolds’ public service resume is long. He served on the Avon planning and zoning commission for 13 years, the town’s council for eight years and has been the town’s mayor for the past two. He also serves on the local water board and was a Vail ski patrolman from 1978 to 1982. As a general contractor and developer, Reynolds’ company contributed to Eagle County’s growth. As far as the other candidates go, Reynolds has been one of the longest-term residents. But his run for county commission doesn’t come a minute too soon or too late for him, he said. “Now is the time for me,” he said.
Easterner goes westBorn in the Bronx, Reynolds grew up and was educated on the East Coast. He learned to ski on the icy slopes there and given the chance to race in Vail, he went. “I was a terrible ski racer,” he said. “I just did it. It was always a thrill when I finished. I would fall down on my face a lot. But I just wanted to finish.”He stayed in Vail, and signed up to ski on a team sponsored by a local ski shop. As far as “real” jobs went, Reynolds had to be resourceful. He had a degree in limnology – the study of fresh water biology – but jobs requiring that kind of knowledge were in short supply in Eagle County at the time.But Reynolds did well in math, and he had worked as a carpenter on the East Coast. With the county’s building boom in its primal stages, he did what many people do in this valley: He got a job in construction. “If you could swing a hammer, you were in,” he said. His love of Colorado soon spread to everyone near him. Reynolds brought most of his family out here, including his father, Buz Reynolds, Sr., a policeman who got a job with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office. His father eventually served as Avon’s mayor in the 1990s. His girlfriend, Monica, came out, too, and eventually became his wife. From the deck behind his Wildridge home, Reynolds can point to several of the homes he helped build with his family-run company, The Reynolds Corporation. About 40 percent of the homes in this subdivision were built by his company, including his own.”For a long time, ours was the only house on this road,” Reynolds said. “They used to plow this road just so the bus could get up here and take my daughter to school.”After spending so much time helping build the community, Reynolds decided he should become involved in the community, too.
Time for the big leaguesReynolds compares his time on the Avon planning commission to “elementary school” and his time on the council to high school. Understanding how government entities work, how they regulate land use and balance budgets was a learning process, Reynolds said. “There is so much knowledge you need to have,” he said. “I really don’t feel most of the other candidates have the background that I have to understand how everything works.” Reynolds has plenty of concerns, plenty of questions and a few answers, he said. Like most of the other candidates, Reynolds believes the county commissioners need to do a better job of communicating and coordinating projects with towns and metropolitan districts. He believes its time to expand the current county commission from a board of three to a board of five. More rural parts of the county, such as Wolcott, Basalt and Bond, aren’t represented on the board, he said. “With three, decisions are made in a very non-democratic way,” he said. “With five, we would get a more democratic vote.”Another concern: The county needs to start taking a serious look at its water rights. Referring to federal regulations that say a local entity can lose water rights if they aren’t using their water, Reynolds said the county needs to look into storage. Ultimately, he added, growth in Eagle County will stop when there isn’t enough water to serve new developments.
But he doesn’t pretend to have all the answers.”Eagle County is my home,” he said. “I’ve lived here almost all my adult life. I have learned the ins and outs of this county and I have an interest in making this the very best place to live.”Name: Buz Reynolds, Jr.Age: 52Hometown: WildridgeFamily: His wife, Monica; and two children: Jennifer and SeanOccupation: Developer, contractor, excavatorFavorite book: “The Illiad and the Odyssey” – “I like adventure into the unknown.” Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado