Fraser mayoral candidates answer questionnaires |

Fraser mayoral candidates answer questionnaires

Peggy Smith
Photo courtesy of Peggy Smith |

Peggy Smith

Realtor with Real Estate of Winter Park

BS in Recreation Management from University of Colorado-Boulder; MBA in Finance from University of Denver

How many years in Grand County? 17

Original hometown:

Husband: Peter Nelson, Architect; Sons: Connor Nelson (age 24), Spencer Nelson,(deceased); Pet: Zeppelin (grand dog)

What do you like about Fraser?
I love the raw and rugged beauty of the Fraser Valley and the independent and passionate people who make Fraser a funky fun place to live.

What experience or qualifications make you the best candidate for mayor?
I have been privileged to serve as mayor of Fraser for the past four years and this has given me the opportunity to give back to the community who has given my family so much. I believe that my professional life as a realtor and general contractor has allowed me to interface with a diverse constituency so I understand what second home owners are looking for in a community and the impact of short construction season and the high cost of construction has on housing affordability for locals. My experience as the Events Manager at the Competition Center has given me a much better understanding of the challenges facing the resort in attracting and housing a seasonal workforce. In addition to my professional life, I have been a committed community member and have served as follows:

  • Town of Fraser Board of Trustees 2010-present
  • Town of Fraser Planning Commission 2008-2010 and 2012 to present
  • Town of Fraser Water and Sanitation Committee 2012-present
  • Winter Park Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce-Board Member 2010-present
  • Winter Park Ski Education Foundation 2010-present
  • Colorado Association of Ski Towns-Member 2010-present
  • Winter Park Fraser Valley Rotary Club 2014-present
  • Grand County Housing Authority 2006-2009

What has been your biggest accomplishment while serving as mayor?
After over 20 years of countywide discussion and no action by the county, we were able to collaborate with the Town of Winter Park and Winter Park Resort to provide year round transit for the Fraser Valley.

What has been your biggest shortcoming while serving as mayor?
My biggest regret was our failure annex Byers Peak Ranch into the town of Fraser. As a result, we are spending $650,000 to purchase augmentation storage from Grand County #1 and seriously depleting the reserves in our Water Fund. In addition, we are also involved in a lawsuit with the developer who is proposing to build a sewer treatment plant behind the Murdoch’s Center. If we had been able to provide water and sewer service to Byers Peak Ranch we would have increased our customer base resulting in lower costs to operate the Joint Facilities Plant and these saving would have been passed onto the citizens of Fraser reducing quarterly service fees.

What are your platform goals?

  • Increase housing opportunities for current and future workforce at a variety of price points.
  • Support existing businesses while strategically recruiting new businesses.
  • Continue to enhance transit by expanding route options.
  • Work with Union Pacific and Amtrak to expand railway service.
  • Assist HTA in implementation of trails master plan.
  • Increase and expand access to broadband services.
  • Continue sustainability initiatives to reduce Greenhouse Emissions.
  • Facilitate a regional dialog regarding opportunities for solid waste diversion (trash and recycling)

What do you think will be the biggest issue facing Fraser in the next four years? What solution(s) do you propose?
I believe the biggest challenge facing Fraser is the lack of affordable and attainable housing. We need affordable housing so that young families can move here and give their children the gift of growing up in the Fraser Valley. We need attainable housing for our workforce so they can afford to live where they work and play. Solving this problem will require public – private partnerships and collaborating with the Town of Winter Park, Winter Park Resort, developers, downtown landowners, financial institutions and other government agencies. With my background in real estate, construction and finance, I have the skill set required to make affordable and attainable housing a reality.

Describe the Fraser that you envision at the end of your term if elected. How do you plan to realize that vision?
I envision a vibrant old town Fraser with mixed-use projects along Highway 40 that honor the Fraser River. I plan to create a public – private partnership to develop a mixed-use project on the Fro-Do property creating housing and jobs for locals in addition to providing a great gathering place for locals and for our guests.

Philip Vandernail

Owner O2 Creative

Associate’s Degree, School of Life

How many years in Grand County? 28

Original hometown:
Ft. Morgan

Husband Eric, four-year-old son Jacob and two-year-old daughter Rachel. Two pugs, Wylie and Sophie and one Bugg Thumbelina.

What do you like about Fraser?
The amazing people, the friendly community, the outdoor amenities, and the small town feel.

What experience or qualifications make you the best candidate for mayor?

  • Member – Town of Fraser Planning Commission (2008-2012)
  • Trustee – Town of Fraser (2012-2014)
  • Mayor Pro Tem – Town of Fraser (2014-Present)
  • Committee Member – Fraser Water and Wastewater (2014-Present)
  • Owner – O2 Creative – Design, Web, and Marketing (2007-Present)
  • President – Rotary Club of Winter Park Fraser Valley (2014-2015)
  • Board Member – Winter Park Music Inc. (2014-Present)

What has been your biggest accomplishment while serving as town trustee?
Working with the town of Winter Park to implement a year-round public transit system.

What has been your biggest shortcoming while serving as town trustee?
Not being able to separate myself from my public life.

What are your platform goals?

A. Fraser first: let’s not be annexed into the town of Winter Park

Annexing Fraser in Winter Park would:

  • Make it even less affordable for full-time residents
  • Force our workforce out of the valley
  • Drastically change our community
  • Dilute our town’s unique history

B. Focus on attainable housing: Let’s stop paying for housing studies and start working to make home ownership and rentals available for all incomes.

I propose we look at:

  • Affordable development practices
  • Mixed-use development
  • Zoning regulations
  • Public private collaboration
  • How similar communities have established attainable housing

C. Diversify the Economy: Let’s reduce seasonality by supporting our existing and incoming businesses. The goal is to Live, Work, Play & Stay here in Fraser!

Why not start marketing Fraser to businesses…not just tourists?

What we have to offer existing and incoming businesses:

  • We’re 90 minutes from Denver
  • We have an Amtrak stop in our backyard
  • High Speed internet accessibility
  • Plenty of outdoor amenities to enjoy
  • Consumers – locals and visitors

What do you think will be the biggest issue facing Fraser in the next four years? What solution(s) do you propose?
Times are changing in our valley. Demand is up, prices are rising, and people are already being forced out. We need to work as a community to strategically plan and grow our community’s future. We need to think bigger than just a few units of affordable housing to “patch” our problems. Let’s look to sustainable and long-term solutions that will benefit our community for years to come.

I propose that we look ahead as a community to identify the short and long-term vision we want for our community. Once we have identified a vision, I will work with our town to identify different public and private partners who believe in Fraser as much as we do. These partners will help Fraser create the community we imagined, complete with sustainable and affordable housing options for all price points, and economic opportunities for existing and incoming businesses.

Describe the Fraser that you envision at the end of your term if elected. How do you plan to realize that vision?
A short and long-term community vision will have been created with the collaboration of community residents and community stakeholders.

Community partners will have been identified and will be working to fulfill our vision.

New units on each level of the “housing ladder” will have been developed and more will be in the process of development. These units will be created purposefully to benefit our community in the short and long-term.

Fraser will be working with strategic partners to support and grow our existing local businesses, while inviting other businesses to our area to reduce seasonality.

How do I plan to realize that vision?
By looking at the “bigger picture” and working as a community to identifying the vision we want to see developed in the four, ten, and twenty years to come.

Collaboration. Let’s start dialogue within our community. Talk to residents, businesses, Grand County, and collaborate with available resources such as Grand County Economic Development, Colorado Department of Local Affairs, and private partners to help develop and realize our vision.

Strategic Creativity. Up until now, we’ve gotten by with the same tried and true process and “inside the box” thinking. With the market changing, people being forced out, we can’t get by with the status quo. It is time to step it up. Let’s stop paying tens of thousands for another Housing Needs Assessment, and begin working as a community to creatively and strategically develop and implement a plan. At this point, we are way behind the eight ball. Let’s get ahead of it and make Fraser the best it can be for everyone’s benefit.

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