Runyon wants to keep Eagle County growth slow | VailDaily.com
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Runyon wants to keep Eagle County growth slow

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado
Daily file photoDemocrat Peter Runyon says he wants to stay on the Board of County Commissioners because 'I love this county.'
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EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Incumbent county commissioner Peter Runyon will run for re-election this November, saying he wants to continue working to shape the county’s future.

Runyon, a Democrat, will run against former commissioner and Republican Dick Gustafson for the District 1 seat.

“From what I understand, his issues on growth and how best to manage that are different than mine,” he said of Gustafson.

As commissioner Runyon has supported slowing down growth and balancing the number of second homeowners and local residents.

The board has helped the county take a leading role in providing affordable housing in the valley, he said.

Recently the commissioners have looked to buy land for building affordable housing, increased housing requirements from developers of new projects and is partnering with Gypsum and a private developer to build Stratton Flats, an affordable neighborhood.

While Runyon said building housing is a top priority, he said he also wants to make sure the county has the infrastructure to support it.

“(Affordable housing) has to be thoughtful. We can’t just willy nilly do it. We have to think about the traffic and environmental implications,” he said.

Some residents have also criticized Runyon and the board for raising property taxes. The board chose not to lower tax rates this year despite a large increase in home values.

Runyon responded to residents’ protests by saying that higher taxes are “the price of growth.”

However, he said that if property values continue to go up at the same rate, he will look into tax rebate options.

“I’m looking at various ways to work with state law so we can give rebates to people of fixed and limited incomes,” he said.

He is interested in a “homestead rebate,” or a lower tax rate for full-time residents, he said. That would have to be passed by voters and the state legislature, he said.

Growth and development in the valley “absolutely” need to be slowed down, he said.

Former boards and commissioners did not anticipate the rate of growth, and now the county needs to manage it, he said.

“I entered this race four years ago because I love this county and truly believe we need to be much more pro-active about management of growth and where it goes,” he said.

Runyon has lived in the county for 38 years and owns a postcard company and a souvenir company. He and his wife live in Edwards.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.


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