About

This summer, Chaffee County has partnered with CTA Group to produce a comprehensive Master Plan, a framework and guide for accomplishing community aspirations and intentions.

This Comprehensive Planning Process is aimed to prepare a comprehensive plan as a long-range guiding document for the community to achieve its vision and goals. The Master Plan provides the framework for regulatory tools like zoning, subdivision regulations, annexations and other policies. It promotes the community’s vision, goals, objectives and policies; establishes a process for orderly growth and development; addresses both current and long-term needs; and provides for a balance between the natural and built environment. Elements addressed in a plan may include: recreation and tourism, transportation, land use, economic development, affordable housing, environment, parks and open space, natural and cultural resources, hazards, capital improvements, water supply and conservation, efficiency in government, sustainability, energy, and urban design.

The last comprehensive master plan was adopted in early 2000, and even though the broad community visions have been validated by the Citizens Land Use Roundtable and Envision Chaffee County, it's past time for an update.

As a framework and guide for accomplishing community aspirations and intentions, your input is very important to the Comprehensive Plan. There are many ways for you to give feedback throughout this process. Starting with this website you can:

  • Register so that you can give input through the various outlets within the website. Registering helps us gather data more easily so we can best understand who is contributing and what they desire.
  • Engage with the rest of the site. Take the surveys, share your ideas, and tags sites of significance on the map. Visit the other pages and find other fun ways to contribute.
  • Attend one or all of the scheduled open houses and/or neighborhood meetings.
  • Educate yourself using the history and background section below. The document library on the right can also provide more information about the County and studies surrounding it.
  • Share this site with friends and family to spread the word.
  • Stay Up-To-Date by revisiting the site throughout the process. The Current Conversations page will update with every passing event for you to understand how we have moved forward.


History and Background

Early 1980s: Chaffee County loses population based on regional economic conditions largely impacted by the Climax Mine closure in Leadville.

1990s: County population and economy rebounds in first half of the decade growing at an annual average of 3% per year. Since 1995, the County experiences 5% growth annually, reaching 15,000 people. Unemployment drops from 6.7% in 1990 to 4% by the end of the 1990s.

2000: County adopts the Chaffee County Comprehensive Plan. Facing an abundance of available land, lack of available water and rapid growth, the County adopted the 2000 Plan to help guide potential development. Development Scenarios envisioned land use outcomes under uncertain conditions.

Mid 2000s: Economic recession slows growth at the County, State and National levels.

2010s: Slow growth in the early 2000s gave way to a population increase of 8.1% from2013 to 2018 while jobs increased almost 17%. The Chaffee County Economy Overview found that many of these new workers were coming into Buena Vista from households elsewhere, while Salida or Poncha Springs sent many commuters outbound to jobs in other places.

2015: The Chaffee County Demographic Profile found that most (52%) of the population lives in the unincorporated county.

2016: Chaffee County Housing Needs Assessment and Strategy report analyzes and outlines housing needs and goals in the face of growing affordability issues. The report estimated that in the next ten years, there will be demand for 433 new households for people earning less than 80% of area median income, which was$38,822 in 2016.

2018: Envision Chaffee County is completed, forming a consensus-based vision for the County’s future. Using input from 1,500 citizens, the Envision Community Action Plan established 40 projects and programs to take actions that will sustain the County’s quality of life.

2018: The Chaffee County Office of Housing brings on a Housing Director to build diverse partnerships that create rental and ownership options across the housing spectrum and support a socio-economically diverse community.

2019: On the heels of momentum from Envision Chaffee County, and informed by the aforementioned reports and studies, the Together Chaffee County Comprehensive Plan is kicked off to implement the Countywide vision and guide growth and development in a way that sustains and enhances Chaffee County’s way of life.


This summer, Chaffee County has partnered with CTA Group to produce a comprehensive Master Plan, a framework and guide for accomplishing community aspirations and intentions.

This Comprehensive Planning Process is aimed to prepare a comprehensive plan as a long-range guiding document for the community to achieve its vision and goals. The Master Plan provides the framework for regulatory tools like zoning, subdivision regulations, annexations and other policies. It promotes the community’s vision, goals, objectives and policies; establishes a process for orderly growth and development; addresses both current and long-term needs; and provides for a balance between the natural and built environment. Elements addressed in a plan may include: recreation and tourism, transportation, land use, economic development, affordable housing, environment, parks and open space, natural and cultural resources, hazards, capital improvements, water supply and conservation, efficiency in government, sustainability, energy, and urban design.

The last comprehensive master plan was adopted in early 2000, and even though the broad community visions have been validated by the Citizens Land Use Roundtable and Envision Chaffee County, it's past time for an update.

As a framework and guide for accomplishing community aspirations and intentions, your input is very important to the Comprehensive Plan. There are many ways for you to give feedback throughout this process. Starting with this website you can:

  • Register so that you can give input through the various outlets within the website. Registering helps us gather data more easily so we can best understand who is contributing and what they desire.
  • Engage with the rest of the site. Take the surveys, share your ideas, and tags sites of significance on the map. Visit the other pages and find other fun ways to contribute.
  • Attend one or all of the scheduled open houses and/or neighborhood meetings.
  • Educate yourself using the history and background section below. The document library on the right can also provide more information about the County and studies surrounding it.
  • Share this site with friends and family to spread the word.
  • Stay Up-To-Date by revisiting the site throughout the process. The Current Conversations page will update with every passing event for you to understand how we have moved forward.


History and Background

Early 1980s: Chaffee County loses population based on regional economic conditions largely impacted by the Climax Mine closure in Leadville.

1990s: County population and economy rebounds in first half of the decade growing at an annual average of 3% per year. Since 1995, the County experiences 5% growth annually, reaching 15,000 people. Unemployment drops from 6.7% in 1990 to 4% by the end of the 1990s.

2000: County adopts the Chaffee County Comprehensive Plan. Facing an abundance of available land, lack of available water and rapid growth, the County adopted the 2000 Plan to help guide potential development. Development Scenarios envisioned land use outcomes under uncertain conditions.

Mid 2000s: Economic recession slows growth at the County, State and National levels.

2010s: Slow growth in the early 2000s gave way to a population increase of 8.1% from2013 to 2018 while jobs increased almost 17%. The Chaffee County Economy Overview found that many of these new workers were coming into Buena Vista from households elsewhere, while Salida or Poncha Springs sent many commuters outbound to jobs in other places.

2015: The Chaffee County Demographic Profile found that most (52%) of the population lives in the unincorporated county.

2016: Chaffee County Housing Needs Assessment and Strategy report analyzes and outlines housing needs and goals in the face of growing affordability issues. The report estimated that in the next ten years, there will be demand for 433 new households for people earning less than 80% of area median income, which was$38,822 in 2016.

2018: Envision Chaffee County is completed, forming a consensus-based vision for the County’s future. Using input from 1,500 citizens, the Envision Community Action Plan established 40 projects and programs to take actions that will sustain the County’s quality of life.

2018: The Chaffee County Office of Housing brings on a Housing Director to build diverse partnerships that create rental and ownership options across the housing spectrum and support a socio-economically diverse community.

2019: On the heels of momentum from Envision Chaffee County, and informed by the aforementioned reports and studies, the Together Chaffee County Comprehensive Plan is kicked off to implement the Countywide vision and guide growth and development in a way that sustains and enhances Chaffee County’s way of life.


Did something on the page trigger a question about the Master Plan process? Ask your questions here. 

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