Candidates cover Edwards
Vail, CO Colorado
EDWARDS, Colorado ” Edwards residents ques-tioned county commissioner candidates Tuesday night about housing in Edwards, traffic and open space for the unincorporat-ed area.
Edwards needs a balance between being a “dumping ground for affordable housing” and being a prime location for locals to live, candidates said at the forum hosted by the Homestead Racquet Club.
Republican Dick Gustafson, who is run-ning against Democrat and incumbent commissioner Peter Runyon, said he felt that Edwards has already outgrown its infrastruc-ture, creating traffic problems.
“As long as Edwards is the dumping grounds for affordable housing, it will only exacerbate the problem,” he said.
Republican Debbie Buckley agreed, saying that developers needed to pay for their impacts and that the county should do its part to provide infrastructure such as adequate roads and parks for the housing that it helps build. She wants to see the upvalley towns pitch in to help solve the problem, since their workers tend to “leak” downvall-ey, she said.
“I’m for affordable housing, but not at the expense of everyone else’s quality of life,” she said.
Runyon said he didn’t plan on “dumping workers” in Edwards but said the county has to consider that having a middle-class work-force is necessary for everyone’s quality of life. Buckley’s opponent, Democrat Jon Stavney, said he supported building in areas where there is already some development, but that it will require working closely with the community.
“Landing ‘spaceship’ work-force housing in existing communities is not acceptable,” he said.
Stavney could not attend the forum, but he answered some of the questions in writing.
Candidates disagreed on who should be selling that housing. Republicans bashed the newly formed Valley Home Store, an Edwards office that will act as “one-stop shopping” for all the affordable housing in the valley. The store is supported by the county, towns and private businesses.
Gustafson said the Home Store was com-peting with the private sector. Buckley agreed, saying that the county should offer the job to local real estate agents instead.
“I’m sure there are many Realtors who would be happy to work for a little less commission,” she said. “Don’t compete with Realtors when the economy is soft.”
Also, while Stavney and Runyon support-ed the proposed sale of Lake Creek Village apartments in west Edwards for $53 million, Buckley and Gustafson said they opposed it. The county wants to sell the affordable apartments in order to invest the money into other affordable-housing projects.
“We’re taking money out of Lake Creek and putting it in other places. It’s diversifying the portfolio,” Runyon said.
However, Buckley thought it was wiser to hold onto land. She preferred to see rent low-ered for the existing residents so they might eventually be able to buy homes, she said.
“There are too many unanswered ques-tions (about the deal),” she said.
Gustafson said that some local developers have concerns about the sale and that the board should listen.
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