Thursday, October 26, 2000
Steamboat Springs At a debate on the Colorado Mountain College campus, both candidates running for the open Routt County commissioner's seat identified growth as a key challenge they will face if elected to the position.
Doug Monger wants to keep growth in growth zones, but he also would like to see it pay its way through impact fees.
Monger is a fourth-generation Routt County resident. He is an accountant and rancher. Monger's government experience comes from being a finance director for Hayden for eight years.
"The budget doesn't look good, and it will look worse a few years down the road," he said after the debate.
Impact fees that would pay for different county-financed infrastructure, such as roads, would help the county out financially, Monger said.
Candidate John Shaw wants to maintain the growth in the county but make sure it isn't hurting locals or ruining the open-land value of the community.
"We want to control it and make it work for us," Shaw said.
Shaw has lived in the county for three-and-a-half years and is a 27-year Colorado native.
He has experience with public agencies through his career of developing computer software for different government entities in the state.
Shaw expanded on his comment after the debate.
"We need to make sure that growth is where we want it, but we don't want to stop it," he said.
That means making sure population growth stays in growth zones county planners have identified. There are a variety of tools that can be used to deal with growth, including breaking land into 35-acre parcels in some places, while pursuing land preservation subdivisions in others, Shaw said.
A subdivision going in at Steamboat Lake is an example of where the 35-acre subdivide would work, Shaw said. Utilities can't be extended to the subdivision's original smaller plots of land so 35 acres would work.
Monger wants to bring the issue of 35-acre parcel subdivisions to the people. Some landowners have said that the Land Management Act makes for parcels of land that are too big for home sites and too small to have any agricultural purpose.
That leaves land going to waste, Monger said.
In the debate, both candidates were stumped on providing a solution to affordable-housing problems.
Shaw said he is worried that the lack of housing is forcing lower- and middle-income people who work in Steamboat Springs to live in the surrounding areas. Those people who must commute create traffic problems.
"We need to find a way to provide housing and employment in one community," he said.
Monger is afraid that too much emphasis in providing affordable housing is on the low-income families, not middle-income families.
Monger added that it is a "Catch-22" issue with growth in the community.
"We slow down growth, then it increases property values," he said. "It definitely needs some work."
In closing remarks, Shaw told the crowd that it takes experience to be a county commissioner.
He said he wants to bring more jobs to the community through telecommunications. Doing that will take high-tech skills, knowledge of government and the ability to work with people. "I have that experience," he said.
Monger focused his closing statements on his connection to the community.
"I've been working for you fine Routt County people for all my life," he said. "I'm qualified to do the job and I have the want to do the job."
To reach Doug Crowl Call 871-4206 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org