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Dear Editor,

We are 38 landowners friends, residents, and neighbors living in the rural area bounded by CR 140 on the north, CR 120 on the south, CR 145 on the east, and CR 146 on the west, as well as the property owners of the areas bordering this boundary.   Within this boundary exists two equestrian facilities, three cow/calf, and haying operations as well as home-based businesses and small agricultural enterprises.    Some of these small ranching properties have been in families for generations.   This area has been rural agricultural for over a century.

We became aware of changes to our neighborhood, not from the County, but via a post on Facebook concerning the County’s Comprehensive Plan effort.  These proposed changes include: rezoning our area from rural to residential suburban, developing roads that divide up our large 100+ acre expanse of open space, and drastically changing our densities.  It is unconscionable that no one informed us about such sweeping proposals to our neighborhood.   This is an area that property owners chose to invest and live in due to its rural agricultural nature. We invested in the: existing lifestyle, densities, and viewscapes that are here now.  It is not right for others, who are not invested in our area, to change the character of our neighborhood and alter our lifestyles.

In 2018, 1A was passed. 1A increased the sales tax by 0.25% for, “forest health, rural landscape preservation, and to manage the impacts of growth within the county.”  1A was promoted as agriculture friendly. According to Commissioner Greg Felt: “There is a strong agreement on the challenges to county faces and now there is a mechanism to address those changes.”  Cindy Williams, of Central Colorado Conservancy, stated, “The voters have voted to protect the quality of life in the area.”

The mission statement of the Envision Chaffee County, states, “supporting the community and landscapes that make Chaffee County special. Including rural lands. Our neighborhood is rural and we wish it to remain that way.   Chaffee County should not, just recognize the large ranches. Small ranching and agricultural operations are very important must be protected.  We are part of the rural agricultural lifestyle.

According to the USDA, “Family and small farms are vital to our economy and well-being as a nation. Not only do they support the competitiveness and sustainability of rural and farm economies, they serve to:

  • Protect and enhance natural resources and the environment
  • Provide a nursery for the development of new enterprises and marketing systems
  • Maintain rural populations

Therefore, any County Comprehensive plan should be protecting these areas and lifestyles, as well.

We are not your “growth zone.” We are rural.  Our properties are irrigated and sub-irrigated pasture and meadows.  We have hayfields,  irrigation ditches and a seep ditch that runs year round.  We have wetlands to protect. We have wildlife.  We are your agriculture. We are your valued open spaces, viewscapes, and wildlife corridors.    We are the land and lifestyle that Chaffee county is to preserve and protect.

Hands off our rural land.

Marsha Boggs and 37 other neighbors

Rural Chaffee

Editor’s note: the Chaffee County Comprehensive Plan process has been in process since July 2019, encompassing multiple public meetings, including the latest on Sept. 17. By design, Comprehensive Plans are land use vision, including plans for how and where to address potential future growth — which due to Colorado’s population growth, is continuing to occur in Colorado’s rural areas.  Comprehensive Plans are not land-use code, which is the legal framework for any changes to the kind of zoning referenced in this letter.