Morrison candidates gear up for municipal election

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By Deborah Swearingen

Five of the seven candidates in the Town of Morrison’s municipal election agree that the property for the pending Red Rocks Ranch residential development should be annexed into Jefferson County.

Another candidate says Morrison should keep control of the property and therefore the development, while the last candidate said she didn’t have enough information to have an opinion.

The candidates voiced their opinions on development and maintaining Morrison’s character — two topics front and center in the town lately — at a March 22 forum.

The April 3 election will be at the Morrison Town Hall, 110 Stone St. The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. To vote, a person must have lived within the town boundaries for at least 30 consecutive days and must have registered to vote at least 22 days prior to the election.

There are three candidates for the open mayoral position and the four candidates for the three open trustee positions.

Protecting water, supporting Red Rocks Elementary, advocating for their small town and serving the community are issues of utmost importance to all candidates.

And overall, one thing is for certain – all seven candidates love Morrison, and each encouraged the residents packed into the Morrison Town Hall to continue paying attention and supporting the town.

Mayoral candidates

In the April 3 election, there are three contenders for the open mayoral position:

  • Sean Forey, who served as Morrison’s mayor for the past four years and says Morrison’s financial position speaks for itself.
  • Gretchen Roberts, a Planning Commission member and self-proclaimed “small-town girl.”
  • Loren Oswalt, a longtime Morrison resident calling for open and transparent government.

Roberts and Forey support a disconnection from the Red Rocks Ranch property. The 309-acre proposal would bring a maximum of 1,350 dwelling units to the northeast corner of C-470 and Morrison Road. While the property is in the Morrison town limits, many support disconnecting the property from Morrison and annexing into unincorporated Jefferson County.

Oswalt, on the other hand, would prefer to have control over the property but said he would support what the residents want.

“Look at what happened on the corner of Wadsworth and Belleview. That’s a finger inside of Lakewood that’s Jefferson County (with) high-density homes, maxing out the property,” he said. “… But I’m more willing to do what the people of this town want to do, and we support the decision together.”

Trustee candidates

Four candidates are running for three openings on the town’s Board of Trustees, including:

  • Earl Aukland, a former town mayor.
  • Debora Jerome, a fourth-generation Morrisonite running to keep her position on the board.
  • Kathleen Dichter, a former town mayor and board member.
  • Paul Sutton, a Morrison “newbie” who served as a Planning Commission alternate.

Aukland, Jerome and Sutton favored a disconnection from Red Rocks Ranch, while Dichter said she did not have enough information about the project to form an opinion.

“Doing our best to keep Morrison, Morrison is not only maintaining but keeping an eye out on the future and being proactive with what’s going on around us,” Jerome said.

“ … Being positive, being proactive and getting you guys’ input. I mean, as I said, we all know each other. You see us on the street. Talk to us,” she added.