Current Conversations

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Check here regularly for updates on the Chaffee County Comprehensive Plan. Results and discussion from various projects and open houses can be found below as well as any other updates.

Check here regularly for updates on the Chaffee County Comprehensive Plan. Results and discussion from various projects and open houses can be found below as well as any other updates.

  • Open Houses 3 and 4

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    5 months ago

    Open Houses 3 and 4 were held on February 26 and 27 in Salida and Buena Vista. The goal for the meetings was to solicit input on draft comprehensive plan items like growth scenarios, sub-area plans, goals, strategies, action steps and projects. Survey #2 results were presented and meeting attendees were walked through three growth scenarios. Scenario A showed growth with the existing land use framework by projecting growth using historic growth trends based on the current Land Use Code and Subdivision Regulations. Scenario B showed Conservation and Corridors, which focused growth even more towards existing towns and transportation corridors. Scenario C, the most extreme of the three, showed growth almost exclusively in existing municipalities and County villages with high conservation on natural and scenic resources. In both meetings, Chaffee community members voiced a strong preference for Scenario C.

    The Sub-area plans consisted of the four identified focus areas within the County: Buena Vista, Mid-Valley/Nathrop, Salida, and Poncha Springs/Maysville. Each Sub-area plan showed three maps; Existing Land Use, Future Land Use, and Existing and Proposed Infrastructure. Residents were able to comment on any of the maps, and were particularly interested in the Future Land Use which was modeled after growth Scenario B.

    Meeting attendees were able to place priority on a list of projects by Sub-area and write in projects that weren’t already listed. The highest priority projects were:

    Buena Vista:

    • Significant affordable housing project in the Sub-area
    • Construct a paved bike path at Crossman Ave
    • Construct a recreation center in BV
    • Childcare in BV


    • Work with CDOT to study Cogan’s Curve to improve vehicular safety
    • Enhance the bicycle network in the City with more bike lanes and trails


    • Implement improvements recommended in the Future 50 Plan, make improvements to the intersection of US 50 & SH 291
    • Significant affordable housing project in the Sub-area
    • Fund and support program to eliminate plastic waste

    Poncha Springs:

    • Enhance the Continental Divide Cycling Route by creating a buffered bike lane on either side of Highway 285 along Poncha Pass
    • Construct a Roundabout at the intersection of 285 & 50

    We would still like your input on the draft comprehensive plan, and you can read and comment on it here:

  • Survey #2 Results

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    5 months ago

    Thank you to all who took Survey #2! See the results below:

  • 127 Community Members Engaged at the Together Chaffee Drop-in Events

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    8 months ago

    On Tuesday, December 10 and Wednesday, December 11, Cushing Terrell staff set up in spaces in downtown Salida and Buena Vista to solicit input on draft plan elements. These Drop-in events were held as an opportunity for folks to have one-on-one conversations about the future of Chaffee County with planning staff. Both events were well-attended with a total of 127 engaged community members!

    Upon walking in the door, participants were handed half a million dollars in “Chaffee Bucks,” which they were instructed to invest in areas they thought the County should spend limited funding. Investment options included affordable housing, infrastructure improvements, a sustainability plan, a recreation center, renewable energy, childcare facilities, a circulator shuttle, or “other” where folks could write their ideas on sticky notes. Below is how Drop-in participants voted:

    1. Affordable Housing - $126 Million

    2. County Sustainability Plan - $121 Million

    3. Infrastructure Improvements - $94 Million

    4. Renewable Energy - $70 Million

    5. Childcare Facilities - $66 Million

    6. Recreation Center - $45 Million

    7. County-wide Circulator Shuttle - $42 Million

    8. Other - $21 Million

    A survey about housing was available for participants, and a few highlights of the responses are shown below:

    · 70% of survey responders said that they would support a local dedicated housing tax for affordable housing.

    · When asked what form of tax they would be more likely to support, 29% answered Development Impact Fees, 18% answered Real Estate Tax/Mill Levy, and 20% answered all of the above.

    · 86% of responders said they would support stricter County regulations on short term housing rentals.

    · 88% said they would support the County passing inclusionary zoning requiring 10-20% of affordable housing for every new subdivision.

    Drop-in participants also gave feedback on the first draft of Goals and Strategies for the plan. Missed the Drop-in events? Give your feedback at:

  • First Survey Closed to Review

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    9 months ago

    Thank you to all who took the first survey! As we move from the Gather and Explore phases of engagement into the Challenge and Narrow phases, we have closed this survey to review responses. Don't worry! We will open another survey where you can give feedback on more specific goals, strategies, and projects that may be included in the plan. In the meantime, be sure to take advantage of the engagement opportunities in the Narrow phase!

    • Together Chaffee Drop-ins: A chance to have one-on-one conversations with staff from our planning consultant team about initial findings from the first phase of engagement. We've had a lot of good input, now we want to confirm what we heard. Drop ins will be held in Salida on Tuesday, December 10 from 10am to 4pm and Buena Vista on Wednesday, December 11 from 10am to 4pm.
    • We will hold two more public Open Houses in January where we will work with the community on narrowing conclusions.
  • Neighborhood Meeting Summaries

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    9 months ago

    Here are brief summaries of what our conversations at each Neighborhood Meetings were about!

    Poncha Springs – July 15, 2019

    Attendance: 15

    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

    Attendance: 10

    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

    Attendance: 21

    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

    Attendance: 60

    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

    Attendance: 65

    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.

  • Buena Vista Neighborhood Meeting

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    10 months ago

    Another incredible turnout last night at the last Neighborhood Meeting in Buena Vista - Over 65 community members came out to discuss Together Chaffee. Topics included mobility, affordable housing, growth, economic development, and more! Thank you for your engagement, BV!

  • Nathrop Neighborhood Meeting

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    10 months ago

    Tonight's neighborhood meeting held at the Chateau Chaparral Lodge in Nathrop was the most well-attended yet with 60 neighbors who showed up to have conversations about the future of their community! The discussion focused on issues related to growth, housing, infrastructure, ranching, recreation, public lands, commercial development, and much more. We are excited about the input we received from this community, and grateful for their commitment to being engaged in the planning process.

  • As Wildfires Get Worse, Insurers Pull Back From Riskiest Areas

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    12 months ago

    Insurers are quietly reducing their exposure to fire-prone regions across the Western United States, putting new pressure on homeowners and raising concerns that climate change could eventually make insurance unaffordable in some areas.

    Officials in California, Washington, Montana and Colorado are getting more complaints from people whose insurance companies have refused to renew their coverage. The complaints follow years of record-setting wildfires in both size and cost, a trend that scientists expect to continue as global warming accelerates.

    Continue reading here...

  • Public Open House #2

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    almost 1 year ago

    Join us on Wednesday, August 28th, for the 2nd Public Open House of the Chaffee County Comprehensive Plan Update. The open house will be held at the Steamplant Ballroom from 6:00 - 7:30pm in Salida at the following address: 220 W Sackett Ave, Salida, CO 81201

    Unlike the first meeting, the second open house will begin with a sit-down presentation and then will transition in a forum-style discussion. First, findings based on comments, concerns, and data received from the first open house will be summarized and shared. After, a discussion surrounding these findings as well as the plan itself will be open to discussions. As a community this will be your first opportunity to respond as well as challenge what has been heard so far. We hope to see you there!

  • Maysville Neighborhood Meeting

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    almost 1 year ago

    Over the course of the next couple months, five (5) Neighborhood Meetings will be held in different locations around the County. The purpose of a Neighborhood Meeting is to gain input from smaller or more underrepresented portions of the community with the hopes of gaining insight that's specific to those particular parts of Chaffee County.

    Please attend these Neighborhood Meetings to share your thoughts on growth, housing, transportation, jobs, agriculture, recreation and other topics to help guide the County-wide Comprehensive Plan Update. These informal neighborhood discussions will capture ideas and issues that affect the day-to-day lives of folks in the area.

    The Maysville Neighborhood Meeting will be held on the 29th of August, a Thursday, from 5:30-7pm at Station 5. The address is: 16820 County Road 220, Maysville, CO. Come join us and make your voice heard!