Call me at 1-970-315-2227 | or Email me today!

Adam's Thoughts and Q & A

Adam's Q & A - Aspen Daily News - Wed April 8th, 2015

ASPEN DAILY NEWS CANDIDATE Q & A

Frisch: Aspen needs to get 
its incentives right

Name: Adam Frisch
Age: 47
Occupation: Founder/lead director, Cruise Inn RV Parks & Campgrounds. Recently launched, but already the fastest growing RV park & campground brand in marketplace. Former currency trader. Council member since 2011.
Education: University of Colorado (CU)-Boulder – art history & economics
Family: Katy, married 11 years. She is a member of the AVSC Board and Aspen School District Financial Advisory Board. Two awesome kids (at least the vast majority of the time), a 2nd & 4th grader at Aspen Elementary School

If you could change one thing about Aspen, what would it be?

The community’s continuous cycle of unproductive and reactionary land use code initiatives that have been counterproductive to community values, including the 2012 failed emergency ordinance and Referendum 1 on this May’s ballot. While they have been proposed by well-meaning people, a comprehensive discussion needs to revolve around more than just “heights” or “variances.” To be clear, I am fully supportive of keeping our current 28-foot height limit in the core, but there are other aspects of a successful land use code that need to be considered to reflect the spirit and intent of the Aspen Area Community Plan’s desire to keep our small town character. We need to use the AACP as the ‘goal’ and then set the ‘tools’ via land use code and other rules and regulation to accomplish our common goals.  Haphazardly and individually tackling height, bulk and mass, different land use zones, etc. has not worked, nor will it ever.

What’s your favorite public space in Aspen and why?

In the summer, sitting by the Hyman mall dancing water fountain, which was created by Nick DeWolf. In addition to seeing a bunch of local and visiting kids laugh, play, and splash, from this vantage point I am able to take in views of Ajax, the Wheeler Opera House, and the Hyman Mall — all gems of our awesome little mountain ski town.

In the winter, all three aspects of Highlands Bowl: the hike, the view and the camaraderie from the top, and of course the ski down. Hopefully the ‘why’ is obvious.

What is your stance on Referendum 1, the measure that would require voter approval of development variances?

This is not the right solution, regardless of how one feels about building heights. I hear frustration about the height of several new buildings in the commercial core. The real issue is that the maximum allowed height was not addressed in the land use code soon enough, not the approval of variances. The facts are the two largest new buildings (the museum and the building on the old parking lot behind Boogie’s) did not need a height variance. Also, by a total vote of 18-1, the current council approved four lodge redevelopment projects that had a few small technical variances, including a few incremental height variances, all with broad community support. Variances are not the underlying issue. Prior council’s inability to adequately modify the building code is the real issue. I do not want this to become yet another case of “buyer’s remorse.” Let’s get the land use code in line with long term community values expressed in the Aspen Area Community Plan.

Do you support the construction of new space to consolidate city government offices? If not, why, and if so, where should the new construction be located?

Some amount of new space needs to be built; it is a ‘necessary evil’ for lack of a better term. Build as small and humble as possible. City Hall is currently using about 44,000 square feet, of which over 20,000 square feet is in the process of being lost due to expensive rental leases expiring. The police department is also in the process of losing their current space and has been operating in much too small of a space. I am a proponent of having any new building being located behind Galena Plaza. This will at least keep the assumed heights a story lower from the view in town due to the sloping topography. The consolidation of city hall offices from eight buildings to two or three will be a huge cost and efficiency savings over the long haul.

With work wrapping up for now on Burlingame Ranch, what are your top priorities going forward for the affordable housing program?

Capital reserves — I have been working on this issue even prior to my time on council.  I lead the Housing Frontiers Group, which is focused on long term strategic issues facing our very important and needed affordable housing program. The focus on capital reserves is based on the vital importance of making sure our current housing stock of 2,800 units is able to last as long as possible, especially given the expense to building new units. We are also literally running out of space in town to add new units. The current regulations financially penalize current homeowners for taking care of their complexes — we need to incentivize them. There are some great ideas to make this happen that I think will earn a lot of community support, but this important issue deserves more than a few lines of explanation.  Please see www.adamforaspen.com for more details.

What should Aspen’s priorities be to maintain its place as a successful resort town?

(1) Retain our historic small town charm that emphasizes the pedestrian and biking experience — it is a huge competitive advantage for Aspen. (2) We locals and the vast majority of guests who visit us say they like that we have a “real community.” To retain that vibe, we must continue to focus on making sure full time locals have the ability to not only find housing, but a diversity of jobs and true “career” opportunities. If re-elected, I will continue to work hard to diversify our job base for all generations of Aspenites who want to call this town home, the option to raise a family, and to build a community. (3) The Aspen airport must offer the next generation of regional jets a safe and efficient place to operate, while making sure the terminal and other new buildings are truly in line with community standards — small and humble as can be.

What are your top priorities as they relate to parking and transportation?

We need to continue to de-emphasize the automobile in town, while being realistic that while we can and I believe will do better, cars will remain a necessity at some level for locals as well as guests who visit. We must continue to support the exploding user base of RFTA and WE-Cycle, and I remain a big supporter of the no-fare bus service between Aspen and Snowmass. We also need to take a look at the existing parking space utilization in town. The desire and ability to add more parking in town is limited and probably counterproductive to community goals. Over the longer term, I’d like to see increased utilization and additional park and ride options at the intercept lot, Buttermilk parking lot, and the airport.

What is one city government initiative from the last four years your think was unnecessary, and what is one area where you think the municipality could do more?

The most counterproductive and unnecessary initiative of the last four years was the failed emergency ordinance from 2012 that caused the greatest rush of building applications in the history of Aspen. Sadly, we will being paying a price for a long time to come. I stand by my comment at the time that this was going to be forever known as “Aspen Construction Recovery Job Act of 2012.” I have rarely been more frustrated about being more right.  While the issue was proposed and supported by well-meaning people, how a council implements legislation is just as important as what is implemented. The results we are seeing, and sad to say will continue to see, had nothing whatsoever to do with the overused “unintended consequences;” these ramifications were well laid out by a wide variety of voices. Again, as boring as it sounds, process matters.

What’s the better season, winter or summer?

That is like asking which one of my two kids do I like better! But sorry summer, as much as I love the long days of being able to hike, bike, run, and all the awesome cultural activities our community has to enjoy, I am a washed up ski racer and still giddy that, unlike Minnesota where I grew up, winter does not need to be cold and gray. While the days are shorter, the skiing — alpine, Nordic, and uphilling with friends or racing — is still my favorite. Also, all those summer activities can be done in the spring and fall, another two amazing seasons in Aspen. Darn we are all lucky to call this place home!

Adam's Q & A - Aspen Times Tues 7th through Sun 12th of April

  1. Why does your background lend itself to public office?

I truly believe our community’s best days are ahead of us.  Aspen needs leaders who believe in this brighter future, not those who want to go back to the past.  I am proud of my track record of implementing goals in a positive and respectful tone so that all members of the community are comfortable engaging in a productive dialogue.  My ability to debate my fellow members on Council in a respectful manner is what makes me a strong leader, especially in our small town.  Lastly, I do my homework on every issue and come prepared to ask respectful questions and provide thoughtful solutions.

 

  1. What is the No. 1 issue facing Aspen, and how do you plan to address it?

The community’s continuous cycle of unproductive and reactionary land use code initiatives that have been counterproductive to community values, including the 2012 failed emergency ordinance and Referendum #1 on this May’s ballot.  While they have been proposed by well-meaning people, a comprehensive discussion needs to revolve around more than just “heights” or “variances.”  To be clear, I am fully supportive of keeping our current 28 foot height limit in the core, but there are other aspects of a successful land use code that need to be considered to reflect the spirit and intent of the Aspen Area Community Plan’s desire to keep our small town character.

 

  1. Where do you stand on Referendum 1 and why?

This is a bad direction for our community, regardless of how one feels on heights.  The main frustration I hear are the larger new buildings that were approved by prior Councils.  The real problem is the maximum allowed height was not lowered soon enough, not that there are variances.  I say this based on facts: first, the two largest buildings (the Aspen Art Museum and the Core building – on the former Boogie’s parking lot) do not have a single height variance.  Second, by a total vote of 18-1 Council, approved 4 recent lodge projects that had a series of small technical variances, including a few small height variances.  This shows that variances are not the underlying issue.  The community will not be well served by a 6,000 person city wide homeowners association.

 

  1. What is the most important priority in addressing the city’s space needs?

Some amount of new space needs to be built; it is a ‘necessary evil’ for lack of a better term.  Build as small and humble as possible.  The consolidation of City Hall offices from 8 buildings, to 2 or 3 will be a huge cost and efficiency savings over the long haul.  I am a proponent of having any new building being located down and behind Galena Plaza.  This will at least keep the building a story lower from the view in town due to the sloping topography.  The City is losing half of its current 44,000 square feet, due to rented space expiring.

 

  1. What does parking and transportation look like in Aspen in 10 years?

We need to continue to deemphasize the automobile in town, while being realistic that while we can and I believe will do better, cars will remain a necessity at some level for locals as well as guests who visit.  We must continue to support the exploding user base of RFTA and WE-Cycle, and I remain a big supporter of the no-fare bus service between Aspen and Snowmass.  We also need to take a look at the existing parking space utilization in town.  The desire and ability to add more parking in town is limited and probably counterproductive to community goals.  Over the longer term, I’d like to see increased utilization and additional park and ride options at the intercept lot, buttermilk parking lot, and the airport.

 

  1. Ask yourself a question and respond.

What is the least enjoyable and most enjoyable aspects of serving the community by being on City Council?

The least enjoyable aspect — by far and away — is being away from my wife and two kids for most of the Monday’s and Tuesday’s over the last four years.  Almost half of Felix’s life and a bit more than half of Quintessa’s have been since I joined the Council in June of 2011.  Katy & I, however, are true believers that community service is a key value that we want to instill in Felix and Quintessa’s upbringing.

The most enjoyable aspect has been humbly learning from and about such a diverse community that we all call home.  I have always believed that there are 6,000 reasons why people move here and while everyone desires the small town vibe, I am always amazed about the individual stories and reasons people come, and stay.

Adam's Q & A - KAJX Radio Interview - April 2, 2015

Here is my interview with KAJX, our wonderful local NPR station:

http://aspenpublicradio.org/post/aspen-city-council-race-adam-frisch

Referendum #1 - Variances

Adam’s position on Referendum #1

REGARDLESS OF ONE’S VIEW ON DEVELOPMENT OR BUILDING HEIGHTS, REFERENDUM #1 IS A HORRIBLE WAY TO MAKE LAND USE DECISIONS.

WHY (SO MANY) PEOPLE SIGNED THE PETITION

  • I do think people signed the petition for variety of reasons (so I have some hope that people that signed it at first, might/will not vote for it)
  • People sick of development overall
  • People wanted to vent against new Art Museum building
  • People want to vote on something directly besides candidates
  • People did not know/understand that the referendum is proposing to vastly change what is basically the City’s constitution and/or do not know it is extremely rare — if not precedent setting — to see land use changes in a city charter.

REASONS TO VOTE NO NEED TO BE: CLEAR, CONCISE, & CONSISTENT

1. This was never about giving ‘power to the people;’ the current rules of the City already allow the public to refer a variance to the general voter base

  • When building applications are part of PD/PUD (Planned Development/Planned Urban Development) which all large downtown projects downtown are.

2. The buildings that give the community the most trouble these days do not have a single height/bulk/mass variance.

  • The new AAM building and the Core building (former parking lot behind Boogie’s) do not have a single height/bulk and mass variance.

3. In the last year, City Council has approved — by unanimous/big majorities – projects that have variances.

  • Molly Gibson lodge (5-0) granted variances
  • Hunt’s Base 1 lodge (5-0) granted variances
  • Hotel Aspen (3-1) granted variance

4. Both California and our own Colorado are having buyer’s remorse on these type of drastic, passion-driven, ballot initiatives.

  • States have supported putting laws into the state constitution and they are now stuck with emotional decisions that are devastating to state finances (although I would stay away from any financial issues on Aspen’s ballot)….and it is rare to create enough passion to remove something after been voted into place.

Community opposition to Referendum #1-

Ziska Childs’ Letter to the Editor, March 31, 2015

Candidate Forums ACRA 2015 Election Forum at the Limelight - Aspen City Council Candidates

http://www.grassrootstv.org/view?showID=13184

Pitkin County Democratic Party 2015 Aspen City Council Candidate Forum


http://www.grassrootstv.org/view?showID=13194

Adam's Q & A - Talking Dirt with Gus Kadota and Michelle Sullivan -April 10, 2015

Here is link to Talking Dirt recorded Friday, 10 April, 2015: https://vimeo.com/126530638

Section

I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Section

I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.