On November 2, the Chaffee County Planning Commission will consider a proposal to subdivide parcel 6 of the Timber Creek Ranch into 59 lots of approximately 1 acre. Yes, you read that correctly. Nearly 60 lots, all 1 acre or less clustered in a housing development on what has been ranch and agricultural land for decades and on land that is zoned rural.
If this very large, dense housing development is approved, you will descend the hill on CR 160 by Frantz Lake and very quickly see 59 homes (likely many with ADUs) on less than one acre lots standing in the middle of what used to be an open field view to the Collegiate Peaks. Imagine fishing at Frantz Lake or biking on CR 160. Instead of being the peaceful, beautiful experience it is today, the views will now be littered with houses. CR 160 will become a major thoroughfare with traffic into Salida from these new houses, not to mention the construction vehicles that will be frequenting this road for years to come. CR 160 will no longer be a safe place to bike.
Does this sound like the Chaffee County that we all know and love? This exemplifies suburban sprawl and is out-of-synch with the surrounding area. We all live in Chaffee County because it is a special place. The vistas and recreation are a big part of what makes Chaffee County special, but I firmly believe that the people are one of the biggest parts of what makes it special. We band together and support each other and our vision for what we want this community to be.
Yes, growth is going to happen, but this proposed development does not promote growth in a way that fits the future vision of Chaffee County. A development of this scale in both density and number of lots in a rural area defies the values of Chaffee County, which prides itself on our beautiful, open agricultural land and abundant recreational opportunities.
My question to county and planning commissioners would be who should we be valuing as we listen to this proposal? The community members at the heart of the community that not only live and work in Chaffee County but who also care deeply about the community and the people in it? Or a developer who has decided that there are better places for his family to live outside of Chaffee County and is looking only to financially benefit from the growth of Chaffee County? Why are we bending the rules and guidelines for land use for someone who doesn’t even value Chaffee County enough to live in the community with his family?
I urge the County Commissioners and Planning Commission to bring some much-needed balance to this proposal. And I urge you, Chaffee County residents, write to your commissioners and attend the [Planning Commission] meeting on November 2 at 6:00 p.m.
Amy and Nick Guldan
Concerned Salida residents