Meet the Eagle Town Board candidates
Chuck HairAge: 42Occupation: Contractor/Custom RefinementsResident of valley: 18 yearsResident of Eagle: 3 yearsLives: Eagle Ranch.First try at public officeMost important issueGrowth. Sub-categories include infrastructure, schools, roads, and water. Hopefully, as the town grows, we will have more money in the coffers to address these issues.Social issues need to be looked at. Good government creates a sense of community, and entices people to become involved.A sense of community can be hard to define … but when you’re there, you know it.Big box impactsThe big thing is going to be traffic, particularly if there isn’t an airport interchange. Costco and the airport will increase car traffic through Eagle.I think there is room for big-box store development in Eagle. You have to create your niche, and find out what is not being supplied.Bolstering the existing business communityEagle has an opportunity to do that. We have the downtown that Gypsum lacks. We can tap into tourist dollars by enticing visitors with a unique retail experience, such as cafes and boutiques.Eagle is a unique Western town – that has an attraction to people coming from a bigger city.Big-box development in Eagle
The question is who and when, and is it appropriate f for Eagle?I don’t know if a “big box” is appropriate. I do know that a bigger-box-type retail has a place, such as City Market. Eagle does need retail dollars. I think bigger boxes (not necessarily “big box”) can find their way into the Eagle community.Leash lawThe blanket approach is unenforceable. There was an opportunity for more creative solutions.I don’t think there was enough input – the Town Board fell back onto the easiest thing. This issue isn’t over. I would relish an opportunity to investigate a more creative solution.What change for Eagle?Some of the older, dilapidated structures need to be revamped. We need to address how to bring structures up to a higher quality, such as the building on Capital and Highway 6.Why I’m a good candidateI bring to the table a progressive perspective and attitude, and a creative approach to problem solving. That tends to come from my work as a remodeler.I look forward to being involved in the continued development of this community.Scot D. HunnAge: 35Occupation: Director of design review administration for Vail ResortsResident of Eagle: 9 yearsLives: Eagle RanchBackground: Public and private sector land planningServes on Town of Eagle Planning and Zoning Commission; also served on Eagle River Watershed Committee, Downtown Redevelopment Committee
Most important issueMaintaining the small town character many of us moved here to find, while addressing the fiscal challenges that unprecedented growth in recent years has put on our ability to fund basic services and provide for continued public improvements.The town needs to assess the impacts associated with record-setting growth by updating its community master plans. We should anticipate continued growth pressures in the larger Eagle area, and establish an economic vision to ensure preservation and enhancement of our unique bundle of assets. Without understanding what we want to be in 10 to 20 years, it will be difficult to review major land-use applications and public investments fairly and also protect the community vision.Big box impactsTraffic – the same major impact we would have had if Red Mountain Ranch had been approved. There may be a better chance of solving traffic issues associated with growth at the airport and the airport Gateway Center than would have existed as part of the Red Mountain Ranch proposal. Bolstering the existing business communityIncreased traffic on Highway 6 can be a catalyst for redevelopment and strengthening of our own business community – if we plan for it and create more visibility along Grand Avenue and our historic downtown. There is room for Eagle and Gypsum to better coordinate their policy decisions, realizing that our business communities both benefit. The tax-sharing agreement that the two towns crafted was an important first step.Big-box development in EagleThis question should be answered in the larger context of updated master planning and visioning for the town which should be undertaken immediately. The master plan is 10 years old, contains outdated assumptions and information, and does not reflect the input of today’s residents and business owners.Because the demographics of the Eagle Valley and the regional economy have changed dramatically, we need to answer the larger questions of what economic goals we want, what levels of commercial growth are healthy and sustainable, and what the correct mix of businesses will be for the town, based on its heritage and its assets.The town should assess the performance and enhancement possibilities of existing, under-utilized commercial infrastructure. Only then could the town be in a position to consider whether or not a large-box format, national retail operation, or other similar proposals for new commercial growth would be appropriate for Eagle.Leash lawAs a pet owner, I believe owners or guardians should be responsible for their pets. At the same time, we have bigger issues to contend with, and my focus is on those issues.What change for Eagle?Immediate and comprehensive focus on community visioning and updating of the town’s master plans to include the creation of economic development and renewal goals, transportation/mobility master planning, and a comprehensive capital improvements plan that is tied to the goals established in the master plans. This is the best, most inclusive mechanism for citizens and the town to work together toward providing clear direction to guide future land-use and public-investment policy decisions.
Why I’m a good candidateI have lived in Eagle during a time of significant change. I have taken the steps necessary to better understand decisions that have led to those changes and their associated impacts by serving on the Planning and Zoning Commission, and by getting to know those in the business community, as well as some long-time local residents.I will bring an educated and open-minded approach to the town board based on my experience living and working in this valley, and will strive to provide accountable, responsive leadership with vision for the town in an era of unprecedented and ongoing growth pressures. I will work to identify and qualify alternatives to the pressing issues we face today in order to make the best decisions possible to ensure a bright and sustainable financial future for the town, while protecting the inherent character and unique quality of life we moved here to find.mugshot: Kerst, Mikel.jpg W. Mikel (Pappy) KerstAge: 44Occupation: Battalion chief, Eagle River Fire Protection District, where he has worked for the past 16 years.Resident of Eagle: 11 yearsLives: The TerraceIncumbent town board member and deputy county coroner. Also serves on Eagle Fire District Board and Colorado Mountain College Advisory Board.Most important issueEconomic development. The town is doing OK with the revenues currently generated within the town. I would like to continue working on a strategic plan to help keep offsetting any shortfalls. Another big issue is the growth boundaries of the town and what type of development that we need. An updated community area plan is needed. Big-box impactsNot sure that anyone can figure this one out, yet. I believe revenue sharing is a good thing for both towns. As the town of Gypsum understands, they will need to depend on Eagle to help with the movement of traffic. Eagle needs to continue to look for economic development.Bolstering the existing business communityThe renovation and improvements for the Broadway streetscape have already started. Building owners want to look at upgrading their buildings. That is a great to hear. Once the streetscape is completed, I would like to try and help the business community figure out what businesses would fit into the town. I would like to see “mom and pop” stores come in – unique business that would attract other businesses.
Big-box development in EagleWhether I support or oppose depends on what type of development would like to come in. I believe if the right big box and the right structure to the development comes, it could help the economics of the town. I would have to look at projects on a one-on-one basis, the same as we did with the Red Mountain Ranch development. Leash lawThe leash law that was discussed in many meetings was a hard decision. After realizing that the town is becoming more urbanized, I felt it would be better to have a leash law to help prevent problems. There are so many great animal owners in the town that do take responsibility for their animals. We tried by putting in the “park” for their animals to run off a leash. We will take another look at this in the fall of 2006. These decisions are always hard because you cannot make everyone happy.What change for Eagle? I would like to see the trustees and the community come together, like we did with the streetscape, and start working on the area community plan and land-use master plan. These plans are at least 10 years old. We have seen the town double in size. It is time to work on what we would all like for the future and how to get there.Why I’m a good candidateI have lived up to the goals that I ran on two years ago: the Broadway streetscape, trails plan and the use of our open space. I am a listener, then investigator, then a decision-maker. I understand that you cannot make everyone happy all the time, but making most people happy most of the time is a great start to success.Stephen RichardsAge: 55Occupation: ArchitectResident of Eagle: 25 yearsLives: The TerraceIncumbent Town Board member; also served on Judicial Performance Review Committee and ECO Transit BoardMost important issueDevelopment and its impacts. Unfortunately, traffic and roads are going to be the most budget-consuming items. The town does have money every year to plan for projects, but not enough to deal with the cost of road improvements. We want improvements on Highway 6 to be a joint project with the Colorado Department of Transportation.Big box impacts
The big box in Gypsum is going to fill Highway 6 with traffic. If indeed Costco generates the amount of traffic it says it’s going to, it will be bad. We plan to meet with Gypsum, and work on some joint plans. We’re going to have to deal with the traffic coming from both ways. We knew that when we denied the Red Mountain Ranch project.Bolstering the existing business communityThe development in Gypsum will be an opportunity to bolster the existing businesses along the way with signage and appeal. Hopefully people will stop and shop in Eagle. Big box development in EagleIf the right commercial development approaches the town, it might be appropriate. Our stance has been that development should pay its impacts. It should also meet the needs of the community and fit with the community’s long-range plans. I anticipate we will have something on Red Mountain Ranch, because it is so ideally located from the highway.To some extent, the town directs development, but there is a function of who comes along with the right idea and the money.Obviously, we need the tax base. We need commercial development to come up with funds for highway improvements.Leash lawI voted in favor of the current leash law. I have a pet myself, and felt the regulations were easy to abide by and that most residents agreed. What change for Eagle?As an appointee to the ECO Transit Board, I am anxious to see the valleywide trails move toward completion, and, as a town resident, I would like to see trails expanded within the town. The progress on the downtown revitalization has been good to see. I would also like to see the Highway 6 corridor improved in much the same manner. Why I’m a good candidateAs a current trustee, I feel my different perspective has been important to the mix. I would like to continue. I’m actively involved in the community and willing to listen to all viewpoints. Hopefully, I have done that in the past.Vail, Colorado
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