Letter: Don’t believe the lies, Avon | VailDaily.com

Letter: Don’t believe the lies, Avon

Ron Wolfe, mayor of Avon

Some former council members are deliberately lying to voters by saying that the town will sell Wildridge open space if the special election ballot question passes on May 6. This is after one of these same individuals attended the last Town Council meeting and got the facts ” it would take 70 percent of the Wildridge property owners vote to do any such thing!

Our town of Avon is reinventing itself to change a patchwork of poor development decisions made in the 1970s and 80s into a cohesive civic center that will be a centerpiece of community pride and vibrant activity. The Avon Town Council is asking citizens to remove the requirement that any sale or trade of land by the town needs to be put to a special vote and replace it with a more flexible, but equally protective policy, that over 75 percent of the towns in Colorado use.

For reasons only known to them, these individuals, who should know better, go on to distort the facts about the Westin Riverfront project. This project was tested and scrutinized over a two-year period. It has great financial benefits to Avon, provides a riverfront park for the public, public access in two places across the railroad tracks and is the first step in energizing downtown. And it has all the parking needed and required by the town code. Moreover, in 2006 the town substantially down-zoned the land from what was approved in 1998.

Actually, the Riverfront project is not relevant to what is being proposed today. The land was and is privately owned and the owners pursued their rights to develop it in a way consistent with town zoning and approval processes. So now these folks want the council to stop respecting individual property rights?

Everyone living and working in the west town center now has the gondola for quick access up to the Landing and the Beaver Creek Express lift. Town and ECO Transit buses connect to the base of the gondola. Visitors and locals this winter have uniformly applauded these improvements.

Finally, these very same people, who have objected to any government effort to facilitate affordable housing in any way, have now conveniently decided to criticize the town for not having affordable housing units in the Riverfront project. How dishonest and disingenuous of them to ignore the very substantial fee paid by the project to produce affordable housing elsewhere, where it makes better economic and community sense.

These deceptive practices are following a recent pattern that we’ve seen in past elections and, unfortunately, will likely see in future ones. It’s a strategy of hiding in the shadows and anonymously using flyers, Web sites and comment blogs to create voter uncertainty with manipulated truths and out-and-out lies. These people have no ethical compunctions about breaking campaign-issue electioneering laws by not registering and reporting their activities. They want to alarm and mislead people to win at any cost. And do they offer any alternative ideas? No. Are they willing to engage in open public debate and discussion? No. Are they willing to identify themselves and their benefactors? No.

You’ll find that their smokescreen of lies quickly evaporates in the face of the facts. And you can get the facts from any Town Council member, the town Web site or the town staff.

Vote yes for a bright future for Avon on May 6.

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