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Dear Editor,

I am writing to you to express my concerns about the proposed Centerville development.

In the Feb. 13 Mountain Mail, it was stated by the developer (Mr. Vandaveer) that “This is a sketch plan. We are trying to meet the rules of the land use code, not what Envision wants.” I understand that the Envision process doesn’t carry legislative weight. But the process was a unique grass-roots effort that involved 1,500 citizens, four local governments, and 72 non-profit organizations, businesses and agencies across a broad spectrum of fifth-generation ranchers, new residents, students and retirees across our communities.

Together, these efforts developed community action plans to build a shared future for Chaffee County. To be dismissive of “what Envision wants” demonstrates a lack of acknowledgment by the developer of the hard work by the citizens involved in the Envision process to build a better-shared vision for Chaffee County. It seems that the current land use codes may not reflect the current desires of the citizens of Chaffee County.

There are a number of serious issues associated with the proposed development. Among these are impacts to wildlife ranges along an important wildlife corridor, development adjacent to our Collegiate Peaks Scenic and Historic Byway, water quantity and quality due to hundreds of on-site wells and septic systems, impacts to adjacent agricultural lands, and resultant strains on taxpayers and infrastructure due to sprawling development.

Allowing a developer to avoid these externalities and the resultant costs to our communities that will be needed to mitigate the effects of this large development shifts the burden to the taxpayer, allowing the developer to benefit by avoiding these costs.

Richard Kenshalo
Salida, Colorado