Bentley edges past Hughes in District 2

Affordable housing and teamwork at the top of her agenda

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— Meg Bentley defeated former Steamboat Springs City Manager Paul Hughes in a close race for the District 2 City Council seat.

Bentley took 52 percent of the vote Tuesday.

The four-year District 2 seat represents the mountain area of Steamboat Springs.

As her win was confirmed while sitting in the back room of Tequila's Mexican restaurant late Tuesday night, Bentley pointed out the new council's need to focus on teamwork and key issues such as affordable housing.

"I don't want to stop growth, I want to manage it," Bentley said, adding that she would like to put in place ordinances to control the rate and timing of that growth.

"Just because the market : will have very high-end residences sell, doesn't mean that we as a community need more of those."

Bentley doesn't claim to be an expert on financial planning or politics and said she would bring in experts in those areas - and draw comparisons to other mountain communities - to work toward finding a solution to the affordable housing problem.

Bentley, 63, founded the Playworks Preschool and is a co-owner of Steamboat Aviation. She also is a former member of the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission and the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's Board of Directors.

Lacking any formal political experience, Bentley focused some attention during her campaign on her professional background, and at times relied on that knowledge to comment on future developments.

At an Oct. 23 forum hosted by the Steamboat Springs Rotary Club, she raised concerns about the amount of mixed-use development being approved by the city and the potential effect it could have on existing and already struggling businesses.

"Why should we add to that pressure by permitting too much competition too fast?" Bentley asked.

Hughes, 64, served as Steamboat Springs' city manager from 1998 to December 2005, and touted that experience - as well as his total of two decades of municipal experience - during the campaign.

Of the newly elected council members, Hughes said all were bright and that he didn't expect the learning curve to be too steep.

"I think it's pretty clear that the voters expect a change both in the way that the council does business and how they address issues, and they're going to have to get to work on that right away," Hughes said Tuesday night.

As part of a crop of five new council members, Bentley said learning to work together quickly would be crucial to future success.

"We're going to have to work really hard to form a collaborative team, especially with how divisive the campaign has been," she said.

"Otherwise, we will go down as a very inefficient council. There are no prima donnas. It's all or nothing."

Brandon Gee and Mike Lawrence contributed to this article.

Comments

bugman 7 years, 1 month ago

goodluck Meg, you just edged out a terrfic opponent what we all hope you will learn to collaborate with. He has alot of skills and knowledge to help council in their decision making and effectiveness, seek him out.

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twostroketerror 7 years, 1 month ago

Meg, I know you will do the right thing, and I am so pleased you will be looking at the future for our families. My hat is off to you!

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