Candidate Chats: Ward Hauenstein

Apr 12, 2017

Ward Hauenstein speaks with Alycin Bektesh at Justice Snow's during Candidate Chats.

Running For: City Council 

Candidate Statement: I am running for City Council because I love Aspen. I met my wife of 36 years in the Bell Mountain lift line. We have two children that were born here, went to school here and both learned to ski at age 3. We, along with a couple of friends, started the Aspen Gymnastics program. We have dedicated our lives and time to raising our girls in this community, endless white knuckle drives to the front range for hockey, gymnastics and soccer included. I have more time now.

I have been engaged in local issues for many years. When I thought decisions of City Council were not right for Aspen I fought for what I thought was right. I led the opposition to the Castle Creek Energy Center (hydro plant). The citizens of Aspen supported this effort by overturning the project in a public vote. When City Council approved Base2 hotel project, across the street from Carl’s, with 2.5 times the density allowed by zoning and other variances, I again led the opposition to it. After a 6 month battle we defeated the Base2 at the polls by a 63% to 37% margin. Voters next passed Ref 1 that requires a vote if variances were to be granted by City Council. It is obvious to me that the citizens want zoning to be honored. To its credit, City Council then imposed a moratorium so that zoning could be brought into harmony with the Aspen Area Community Plan.

Aspen faces vitally important challenges. We need a City Council that will make decisions rationally and not emotionally. As working residents retire, we are losing ground on our stated goal of housing a substantial portion of the workforce within the urban growth boundary. We must optimize workforce housing to provide housing for the maximum number of employees.
Decisions on the proposed Gorsuch Haus hotel project and the western portal of Aspen Mountain will determine the future of Aspen. Two of my opponents will have to recuse themselves from these decisions if elected. Art Daily’s law firm represents the Ski Company. Skippy voted against Gorsuch Haus when he was on P&Z. The future of Aspen is too important to not have full participation of council in these decisions.

The current council has voted to allow variances to developers. They appointed a citizens committee to vet and recommend non-profit finalists to move into the old Art Museum. They then added their own for-profit finalist into the mix and chose it over their own committee’s recommendation. They later retracted their decision, dashing hopes and dreams.

If we have learned anything from recent elections, it must be that government has a duty to be responsive to all. The culture of listening to and valuing only like-minded people must end. The challenges we face demand the mental horsepower of all mind-sets. I seek out those who think differently. I invite and welcome dialog from all ages and orientations. I listen.

Campaign information: www.wardforaspencouncil.com



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