With no shortage of public comments on Aspire Tours’ plan to develop a campground and outfitting facility on County Road 190, Chaffee County’s commissioners on Tuesday continued the hearing to their meeting on April 12.
At issue: An appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval of Aspire’s Limited Impact Review. The appeal was submitted Feb. 8 by attorney Tom Wagner of Anderson Law Group, representing adjacent property owners and the CR 190 Initiative group.
The arguments for and against the 44-acre proposal remained mostly as they have through the course of the lengthy approval process, with neighbors continuing their fight against potential noise, traffic and associated dust, fire danger and water impacts. There were numerous questions about shuttle van traffic and guests needing to travel off site for recreational activities and dining. In addition, Wagner said there were enough procedural and substantive flaws to cause the application to be denied or reconsidered.
Devin Castendyk, Ph.D., a hydrogeologist and neighbor who has installed and tested wells, said recent tests that were presented after the Planning Commission’s decision were inadequate. He questioned long-term yield and mineral concentrations, among other factors.
Concerned about nearby properties and whether guests would adhere to fire-safety practices, critics referred to the recent Marshall Fire in Boulder County as a cautionary tale. Other speakers talked about a neighborhood that would be forever changed. Ken Tiegs, who lives in the vicinity, said neighbors have been living with “peace and quiet and peace of mind” in the rural, riverside area, and that the county and its regulations have “ignored the very people they’re supposed to protect” while “seemingly bent over backwards to accommodate Aspire.”
Eric Stein, legal counsel for Aspire, presented the company’s plans for the site, which includes 10 campsites, five guest cabins and an employee cabin, rest station and outfitter barn, as well as a future owners’ residence. He contended the Planning Commission’s findings were correct, and that Aspire had satisfied remaining issues concerning water supply and quality.
Several people, many of them from outside the county, commented in favor of the proposal, including Jennifer Bartlett-Enriques of Lafayette. She described the project as adding value to the community and attracting “high-value, international” travelers.
Aspire will have the opportunity to once again address opponents’ concerns at the April 12 meeting.
Featured image: Board of Chaffee County Commissioners, 2019 Jan Wondra photo