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During their regular Sept. 1 meeting, the Chaffee Board of County Commissioners (BoCC), will convene as the county’s 1041 Permit Authority to dive into the topic of water rights. In that role, they will consider authorization for engaging water experts to assist the county to prepare to hear the Nestlé Waters North America, Inc. 1041 permit application.

The topic has been postponed multiple times since Dec. 2019; first due to proper posting requirements, then due to the COVID-19 pandemic and public health orders that prevented gatherings of any size.

Chaffee County Commissioners in a photo take before the COVID-19 pandemic. Left to right: Keith Baker, Greg Felt, and Rusty Granzella. Photo by Jan Wondra.

The BoCC will also take this time to determine the venue for the 1041 permit public hearing, which is now set for Oct. 20. The hearing will determine if the permit, which was originally issued in 2009 allowing Nestlé Waters to pump spring water from its wells in Chaffee County for its bottled water product business, will be renewed.

The topic has been controversial and it is expected that the actual public hearing will be lively.

Also on the agenda is the public hearing for the appeal of the Larks Perch Major Subdivision Preliminary Plan, which was rejected by the Chaffee County Planning Commission. The hearing has been postponed multiple times due to the COVID-19 limitations on in-person hearings.

The project has had controversy due to its location in a steep slopes area that long-time residents say is prone to storm runoff and slides and intersects with a wildlife corridor. If approved, the project would divide 36.87 acres into 13 lots with the minimum lot size being 2.01 acres.

In other business, they will consider a resolution concerning the High Country Planned Development, and review a resolution for a land-use code text amendment accepting an intergovernmental agreement with the town of Buena Vista. The long-anticipated agreement with the town is considered a model cooperation agreement to govern future development in a three-mile area where the town meets county land.

As part of their session the Chaffee BoCC will honor the county’s dispatchers; “Recognizing the Role Chaffee County 911 Dispatchers have as First Responders” in addressing the needs of residents and visitors.