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As part of its role in highlighting the need for affordable and workforce housing in Chaffee County, the Housing Policy Advisory Committee is planning a public forum about the Salida Crossings project at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 23, at Seasons Cafe, 300 W. Sackett Ave. in Salida. The two-hour forum will be moderated by HPAC member Paige Judd, covering key questions about the project and examining the proposal against the lens of the county’s critical workforce housing shortage.


“I want to say that HPAC wants to be a resource for the community to keep them abreast of issues,” said Judd, one of the event organizers. “We are doing this forum because it’s time sensitive, and we want to make sure the voters have the information they need to make an informed choice.”


The decision to hold the free forum, according to Judd, was based on the swirl of misinformation being passed around the community about the project after a citizen petition led by former city council member Hal Brown was submitted requiring that project approval be given by city residents. The petition raised questions about the project’s building height, residential density, parking and related standards. Because of the petition, a special election will be held on the issue in September.


Salida Crossings, a 3.15-acre  planned development proposed by developer Duane Cozart on land currently zoned C-1 (Commercial District) located at 1520 Highway 50, Salida. The proposed project is a mixed-use development including retail, office and residential use. Its location falls within the Highway 50 Corridor Overlay, a planning area, that is just beginning to be organized following the receipt of a grant to conduct the project.


Earlier this year, Salida government began discussions about a proposed Amendment 16 to the city’s land use code that would adjust Article XIII for inclusionary housing, providing standards for the provision of affordable housing in areas that are proposed for annexation, planned development overlay or subdivisi

ons, and increased density in certain zone districts where affordable housing could be provided. City Council considered it, and in July remanded their recommendation back to the Planning Commission. It will be taken up at a joint council-planning commission session on Aug. 21.


The Aug. 23 public forum at Seasons Cafe will include free food and free childcare, plus drawings for prizes from a variety of  Salida merchants and restaurants.