The Aug. 27 joint Chaffee Commissioner-Planning Commission work session on whether to amend Article 15 of the Chaffee County Land Use Code (LUC) regarding “outfitting” ended with another delay. A subcommittee was appointed to develop not one, but three use definitions for recreation-based, social activity clubs and educational activities, aligned with the county’s land use table.


The session began with a draft of two proposed definitions. One that would define an outdoor recreation enterprise, the second that would define what constitutes an outdoor recreation enterprise facility. Those were quickly ruled out.

Instead, a subcommittee of Planning Commissioners Marjo Curgus, Bill Baker and Bruce Cogan, working with Chaffee Planning Manager Jon Roorda will develop definitions for the three general categories of activity. Using as a base, the county’s current definition related to country clubs.

“I tried to cover the broad spectrum of different outfitting activities that we can’t even imagine yet,” said Commissioner Greg Felt, who led the drafting of the two proposed definitions. “I thought, why not use that same kind of language as is in the state’s definition.”

Payton Bondurant from Lakewood, Colorado fishes with her Grandmother at Frantz Lake.  (Photos by Taylor Sumners)

Curgus pointed out that the county doesn’t make it easy for someone to find their outdoor recreation use in the county code. Saying she felt the county needs an educational-nonprofit definition, as well as both a commercial and recreational definition. “I point out we do have a country club definition that could capture a broader swath of clubs … a country club is not actually in our use table, but it could be … we need three definitions.”

Baker suggested a different framework. Starting with the Chaffee County Land Use Code and what triggers a limited impact review. “What is the impact on the neighbors? Last time we got to [consider the] number of people and frequency. If somebody is doing a weekly warehouse, or kids event and I live next door to that. … The code section 2.3, the Limited Impact Review process, is defined by our code in table 2.2. So whatever meets that definition becomes a limited impact review. …We could improve that section – add some complexity in that code section.”

“Right now, what triggers this review?” asked Planning Commissioner David Kelly. “If we don’t figure this out, the guy next to the guy doing the activity will try to get him in trouble … the definition of the country club might work as a base. We could expand on that, then on [Land Use Code] table 2.2 we could add to reflect that – the impacts of clubs as one area.”

County Attorney Jenny Davis cautioned the Board of County Commissioners and the Planning Commission about the use of the word “enterprise.” “This is the impacts on the property as opposed to the regulation of a business. That’s not what the LUC is about – it’s about minimizing impacts. The state regulates the outfitting business. This is more to look at the land use impacts.”

County staff, elected officials and appointed planning commissioners, have been struggling since June 2018 (www.arkvalleyvoice.com/county-commissioners-still-waiting-on-outfitting-definition) to provide a clear definition of what constitutes outfitting activity in Chaffee County. There is currently no activity definition. Instead, Article 15 of the county’s Land Use Code covering facilities has been used to describe both activities and facilities. It describes outfitting facilities as: “The improved structures and facilities related to guiding services for outdoor expeditions, including fishing, camping, hiking, motorized recreation and similar.”

Kid’s Fishing Derby Trout Unlimited check-in. 

But in recent situations where the definition has been referenced, that definition has created problems. Not just because that section of the LUC has been called “vague and offers no guidance about outfitting activities” beyond structures. But because it contains no differentiation between commercial and non-commercial/personal activities. During discussions over the past year, intense public comment sessions have included many worried that their personal and club activities could be misconstrued and reported as a violation of county outfitting code.

“Say you live in a residential area, and you have a neighbor that they have 18 to 20 people show up to load up dirt bikes every week, revving engines at 7 a.m. every Saturday morning,” said Baker. “What is our mechanism for neighbors to get him to stop? Is it a general nuisance ordinance? Maybe we need that, and not get wrapped up in this definition.”

The subcommittee was directed to draft the three definitions and bring them back to a joint session of commissioners and planning commission.