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Your Evening News - January 29th, 2015

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Frisch Seeks Re-Election to Aspen Council

Adam Frisch announced yesterday that he plans to run for re-election this spring for a city council seat. Frisch, who is 47, first ran for the four-year term in 2009. He lost that election but won in 2011, garnering more than 45 percent of the vote. Nominating petitions, which require 25 signatures for a candidate to make the ballot, are available beginning Tuesday. Former housing director Tom McCabe also has announced his candidacy for a council seat. Current mayor Steve Skadron and former councilman Torre have said they plan to run for the two-year term. The election is May 5.

Petition to Control Aspen Development Gaining Signers

A group of Aspen residents gathered at a private home last night to sign a petition about controlling development in town. If it gets enough signatures approved, the proposal would go on the May ballot. It would require voter approval on any new development that doesn’t follow the land use code. Participant Doug Wilson explained why he believes it’s a good idea to keep exceptions to a minimum.

“In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s we worked really hard to come up with the building code that we have today, and it’s made the town retain so much of it’s delicious nature and I’d like to maintain that in the future.”

Wilson is one of a small army of people gathering signatures around town to support the ballot measure. As of last night, they had about five hundred. Bert Myrin worked with about 10 people to put together the proposal. While hosting last night’s event, he said preventing exceptions would level the playing field for developers and residents.

“It’ll create a less decisive community, because everyone will know what the expectations are for the size of the box and the impact it’s going to have on the neighborhood.”

If it’s up to voters to focus on exceptions, Myrin believes that allow City Council to focus on other important issues.

Organizers hope to submit a thousand signatures next Tuesday. Election officials require about three hundred to put a measure on the ballot.

In response to the proposal, Aspen’s City Council is looking at whether to change the land use code before the election. Mayor Steve Skadron said in a heated discussion Monday that he opposes having voters decide what development is appropriate in town.

New Explore Owners Share Future Plans

The new owners of Aspen’s Explore Booksellers say they bought the property and business because they want to promote peoples’ engagement in ideas.

The $5 million sale closed earlier this month. The new buyer is a group of investors connected to the Public Interest Network. The Network trains activists and supports non-profits.

The consortium of buyers purchased the bookstore on Main Street to preserve it. The group is a for-profit entity, so it’s hoping to boost sales through increased visibility and foot traffic. Wendy Wendlandt is a spokesperson for the buyers.

“We know that they already bring in a lot of good authors to do book signings, but we’d like to expand on that and to reach out more into the community.”

The new owners will keep the current staff at the bookstore. The group became interested in buying Explore after several visits to Aspen over the years.

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