What should we build in the future?
Bower, 36, of Gypsum, recently resigned as a housing planner with Eagle County. She is a member of the Colorado State Housing Board.
Sandberg, 59, has been an investigator with the Eagle County District Attorney’s Office for 17 years. He was as an Eagle County school board member for seven years.
Stone, 49, a real estate broker, was elected to the Eagle County Board of Commissioners in 1998. He served as chairman of the Board in 2000 and 2001. He serves on several boards and committees and represents Eagle County on the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, a regional political organization.
Vail Daily: Only a small portion of the county remains available for development. How do you think that land should be used?
Tom Stone: “Free market influences have always played the largest role in how land is developed. Our focus should be on how to preserve quality lands along the (Interstate) 70 corridor. Outlying areas are not currently at risk due to the lack of convenient access. Parcels dedicated to parks, recreation and open space will become more critical as we experience build out in our more urban areas.
“As a community matures, its needs and desires change. We have seen an increased demand for churches, community gathering places and recreational centers in recent years. We should be committed to a landscape of options that give equal emphasis to mind, body and spirit.”
Garry Sandberg: “Former Eagle County Planning Commissioner Arlene Quenon has stated, “Our environment is our priority for economic development.’ Arlene is pretty much on target. I cannot imagine skiers looking out from atop Vail mountain or mountain bikers or hikers or kayakers looking out and seeing nothing but smokestacks and buildings. “Open space is paramount to the beauty and draw of this county.
With that said, the available land in the county has to be planned inside out, meaning from the I-70 corridor outward both with economic development and growth.
“It is most logical to place economic development close to I-70 and housing next in line. Leap frog development should be avoided.
“Currently, what has been dubbed affordable housing is in reality unreachable for many in our workforce and efforts must be made to provide true affordable housing within some of the remaining portions of the county, short of impacting our environment or the reason we choose to live here.”
Laurie Bower: “I think that first of all we all need to keep in mind that most of that land is privately held. This being the case, we need to allow for the basic rights of private property owners. Private property owners usually want to maximize the economic gain for their property, so often the best way to preserve land for a social purpose is to purchase it outright, or to provide for an easement. By voting yes on 1H (Open Space Tax) for example, voters would help create a pool of funds to preserve open space in some of the remaining undeveloped land. Some private lands, however, are in areas that may be best suited for future commercial or residential uses.
“We should also evaluate these lands as they relate to any related town’s master plan as well as the Eagle County Master Plan, and keep in mind the fact that 80 percent of the land in Eagle County is federally owned and operated (Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service lands), which does provide us with certain levels of open space and recreation.”
Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of four stories in which the candidates for Eagle County commissioner answer questions on the major issues.