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I connected via Zoom to the regularly scheduled Board of County Commissioners meeting on January 4. I was there to hear our Commissioners’ responses to questions posed by a concerned citizen as to why the public has heard nothing about planning for sustainability in the County. More than three months ago, a widely attended process was begun to do just that. It was organized by county staff using county funds secured through the BlueTriton Brands permit conditions.

The rationale for developing a countywide Sustainability Plan is set forth in the 2020 Comprehensive Plan. The latter was the product of months of consultants’ work, also paid for with public funds, and countless hours of time donated by Chaffee County citizens. The expectation of the citizenry at that time was that its public servants, notably our Commissioners, would carry out their responsibilities to implement the Comp Plan as written.

Commissioner Felt responded to the citizen’s question with two words: “limited capacity”, as if that were an acceptable explanation as to why this important process has been stalled. The citizen then asked a follow-on question, trying to get Mr. Felt to commit to anything resembling a timetable or date for recommencing the planning: Might the process resume in “one or two months?”, she asked.

Mr. Felt responded with a vague nod of agreement, which could have meant anything. Commissioner Granzella said nothing. Commissioner Baker’s position on the importance of sustainability planning, which he repeated before the questioning began, is well known: He was a moving force behind organizing its inaugural meeting in early October 2021.

With this letter and the one I submitted to the Board on January 4, I am asking the Commissioners to provide the information it owes the public about when work will re-commence to develop a countywide Sustainability Plan. If the Commissioners cannot either set a near-term or otherwise firm date, they owe the public a thorough explanation for the continuing delay.

Terri Lukas