Concerned about the direction of the current Woodland Park City Council, Catherine Nakai announced her candidacy last week to fill a vacancy.
“I don’t like some of the things that have been said on council,” she said. “There’s been a motion that we should just get rid of all zoning. That’s pretty much where I drew the line.”
Without zoning ordinances, Nakai is concerned about mixed-use development. “I believe we need zoning laws so that we don’t have a trailer park next to a $1 million home, for instance,” she said. “I’m not against the market which will dictate development to some extent.”
In addition, there has been a suggestion by some council members that the city do away with the comprehensive plan. “I disagree with that,” she said.
Among the benefits of a comprehensive plan is that it generates citizen involvement while developing a vision for the city, she said. “Another is that the plan allows the city to apply for grants,” she added.
In addition to expressing concern about the current council, Nakai is concerned about issues such as an increase in the deer population, traffic and growth. “If we build out to our 12,600 people, we have no place to grow and we won’t get revenue,” she said. “Water dictates growth.”
As well, she questions the lack of progress of the Downtown Development Authority. “We’ve had the authority for 20 years and still don’t have anything built in Woodland Station,” she said. “They’ve done some good things; we’ve got Walgreens and Natural Grocers.”
A self-described fiscal conservative, Nakai said there are limits.
“I don’t want to pay the debt down in lieu of city services and education,” she said. “We have a quality of life up here that we need to maintain and pay our debt down responsibly.”
Nakai is a member of the city’s Board of Adjustment and, with her husband, Michael, is part of a group of citizens working with the city to develop a revised municipal code.
In her day job, Nakai is an integrated circuit layout designer for Analog Devices, a semi-conductor company.
Nakai is opposed by Stephanie Alfieri and Don Dezellum. The three are scheduled to hold a candidates’ forum from 5:30-8 p.m. Oct. 7 in City Council Chambers.
If elected, one of the three would fill the seat vacated by Noel Sawyer, who resigned after the April municipal election.
Several residents applied for the council but the board failed to agree on choosing one of them. Therefore, the city will fund the election Nov. 3 at a cost of $10,000 paid to the Teller County Clerk & Recorder’s office.
Rather than holding the municipal election in April, the issue will be decided by the voters Nov. 3.
“The three of us will be the first municipal candidates to ever be on a national ballot,” Nakai said.