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Proponents, opponents of Referendum 1 voice concerns at Town Hall

Proponents of a land use referendum were the most vocal attendees, at a town hall forum in Aspen last night.Aspen Public Radio arranged the event, which had a panel of speakers for and against the referendum. Of the approximately sixty people in attendance, those in favor of the ballot question, and further restricting development, were more likely to ask questions.

That included Terry Murray. She says she won’t stop coming to City Council meetings during public hearings if the referendum passes, which is one concern about the proposal.

“We’re taking the hard issues away from you. And there are plenty of other things to decide.” Murray continued, “but you won’t have to worry about those issues that have bothered us, even the council members, so much.”

The referendum would, if passed in the spring election, require a public vote for development proposals bigger or taller than what Aspen’s land use code allows. The vote would also be triggered for exceptions to the affordable housing or parking requirements.

City Council member Ann Mullins was on the defensive last night, as a member of the panel against those changes. “There’s a way to spin facts, and I think the current campaign is spinning facts,” said Mullins. “I ask everyone that’s going to the polls to take a look at some of the statements made tonight in support of the amendment, and look at the actions of council in the last two years.”

Mullins and other opponents of the referendum say the current Council has not allowed development projects with variances, though that description is under dispute. Ballots for the spring election will be mailed out on April 13th. Election day is May 5th.

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