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Here are brief summaries of what our conversations at each Neighborhood Meetings were about!
Poncha Springs – July 15, 2019
The main issues raised at the Poncha Springs Neighborhood Meeting were connectivity, growth, commercial development, town identity and economic vitality.
The connectivity discussion was centered around the intersection of Highways 285 and 50. Poncha Residents recognize that being at a major crossroad in the County has disadvantages, like traffic congestion at the T-intersection and the difficulty of non-vehicle highway crossings. However, the Town benefits from the access and visibility from these 2 major highways. Residents stated they would like a safe way for pedestrians to cross the highways, like a signaled crosswalk. The highways physically divide the neighborhoods of Poncha, which has made it difficult to integrate or create a cohesive identity.
Residents and Town Staff both acknowledged that Poncha has embraced growth, while other communities within the County have less available land and infrastructure to accommodate larger residential developments. The lack of commercial development has prevented Poncha from having a town center, and residents feel that they have no place to gather and interact with their community members (Town Hall is currently the only option). Residents stated they would like more small businesses where they can interact with other locals. Skiing is an important facet of the town’s identity, and meeting attendees saw this as an opportunity to potentially bring in a hotel to capture skiers who would drive through Poncha to Salida for lodging. This could enhance the Town’s economic vitality, which would benefit from an industry that retains long-term jobs.
Johnson Village – July 16, 2019
The main topics discussed at the Johnson Village Neighborhood Meeting focused on community identity, water infrastructure capacity, and annexation.
Residents of Johnson Village understand the important role it plays as one of the three main gateways into the County, and they acknowledge that historically they have been an overlooked, pass-through community. While some meeting attendees said they would like the convenience of having restaurants and a grocery store in the Village, others were less concerned with the drive to Buena Vista for these amenities. Residents were concerned with the availability and capacity of water infrastructure, and how businesses are leaving the area due to water access issues. When the potential to annex into Buena Vista was brought up, residents were skeptical but saw the potential benefit of having better access to water. Growth in the County has created traffic issues coming through Johnson Village, and with increased traffic visibility (proper signage) is key to support commercial growth.
Maysville Neighborhood Meeting – August 29, 2019
The main topics discussed at the Maysville Neighborhood Meeting were community character, recreational assets, short-term rentals, commercial development, and traffic.
Residents at the Maysville Neighborhood meeting spoke lovingly of the small, rural, slow pace of their community, while also appreciating their proximity to municipalities. People were concerned about the that the lakes owned by Xcel that are used for recreation may be sold for water rights. Meeting attendees would like improved regulation and enforcement of short-term rentals, as they cause water shortages for residents and they don’t provide as much benefit to the community since Maysville does not collect taxes on them. People would like to see cellular phone service and broadband expanded and improved. Residents in attendance seemed to share the notion that they did not want commercial activities developed in their residential neighborhoods. Concerns about traffic, highway crossings, dirt road maintenance and signage were also discussed at the meeting.
Nathrop Neighborhood Meeting – October 22 2019
The main topics discussed at the Nathrop Neighborhood Meeting were community identity, protection of ranchland and open space, and commercial development.
The residents of Nathrop agreed that they love the rural character of their neighborhood and take pride in the sense that it is a refuge area from more developed areas of the County. Meeting attendees voiced their fear of development pressure in their community, particularly concerning the agricultural lands owned by a few remaining ranchers. The discussion between the ranchers and their neighbors focused on how to balance community objectives with the private property rights of residents whose families have been a part of Chaffee County for over 100 years. Another community goal discussed was environmental and river protection, particularly the sale and purchase of mining rights.
Some meeting attendees realize that Nathrop is one of the last areas in the County that is affordable to buy property or homes for families, but there are very few amenities for families like a place to buy food, a playground, or a gas station. Others were less concerned about the drives to Salida or Buena Vista for those amenities.
Buena Vista Neighborhood Meeting – October 23, 2019
The main topics discussed at the Buena Vista Neighborhood Meeting were the Town’s role in the County, mobility, housing and growth.
Many residents believed that Buena Vista hasn’t fully shaped into who it wants to be, indicating that there is room to define their identity as a community. The mobility discussion primarily focused on non-vehicle transportation options; many residents voiced concern that the County has not been proactive in pursuing bike lanes, and that they desired more sidewalks in BV.
Cost of housing was the main issue of concern for the residents of Buena Vista, who have seen the negative impacts of housing unaffordability affect them and their neighbors. Many residents at the meeting believed that density is the key to affordable housing and viewed The Farm as an example to be replicated. A few action items that residents referenced were enacting restrictions on short-term vacation rentals, the purchase of County and Town land for deed-restricted housing and creating incentives in the Town to get developers to build affordable housing and annex into Town. People made the connection between housing and jobs, and how businesses are unable to retain employees due to the shortage of affordable rental properties. Most meeting attendees agreed that they wanted to continue to be environmental stewards and hoped that environmental leadership will bring attractive, higher-paying jobs to the County.