Aspen City Council race: Adam Frisch

Apr 9, 2015

Adam Frisch is the only incumbent in the race to fill two open City Council seats.
Credit Roger Adams

Adam Frisch is the only incumbent in the race for two open seats on Aspen city council. He’s also one of two candidates who don’t support “referendum one” - the ballot question about development. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen has more.

Frisch is a father and businessman who’s proud of his record on city council. He says he’s not done with government. He’d like to move forward issues he’s been working on.

"I still want to work on continuation of bolstering our bed base. That’s really important to the resort community. I want to continue to work on making sure that our health and human services funding gets on a little bit better and more sustainable funding source," he says.

Affordable housing and ensuring young people have solid job opportunities are other areas of focus for Frish. Unlike other candidates who fear Aspen is becoming more like Vail, Frisch says Aspen’s best days are yet to come.

"Vail’s been a punching bag for this community for a really long time. I remember looking at meeting minutes from 1974 and somebody sitting at the community table facing council said, ‘We don’t want Aspen to turn into Vail.'"

He wants to maintain the town’s small town character, but points out flaws in the current land use code.

"The code that we have is not saying what the community’s saying," Frisch says. "That’s a problem. The code is telling people to bring and build really, really high end one story buildings that have really, really high end retail. And, that’s not the way we want to see the town go forward."

He supports a 28 foot height limit on buildings and additional lodging in downtown.

Last year Frisch approved a controversial lodging incentive package. Council nullified its vote after community outcry. Opponents said it would have used taxpayer dollars to subsidize luxury development.

"The reason it got my vote is because I’ve been trying to champion the importance of bolstering our bed base for a really long time. If people had a chance to look at the ordinance as a whole, there was a lot of really good stuff in there. There were ways to help the small, existing lodging, there was a focus on revitalization of the condominium market, and also trying to encourage the redevelopment of some of our existing, large hotels for consumers who want to come out and ski, but they have a lot of other places they could go."

He says the same group that fired up the community over lodging has created referendum one on the spring ballot. It would put development projects with certain variance requests to a public vote.

"My pushback to that is that regardless of how one feels about building heights or variances, it’s a really, really bad process to implement land use code into what’s basically the constitution of the city of Aspen - the city’s charter. I think it’s important that the power and decision-making remains at the city council table because that’s how we’re trying to operate our representative democracy."

Frisch’s mantra is “GSD,” or Get Stuff Done. He says he’s done that and he’d like to continue his work for another four-year term.