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Dear Editor,

I am alarmed by the 502-acre Centerville housing development. With 210 lots adjacent to the scenic byway, it’s impacts on the rural character of Chaffee County will be extensive. In addition to its visual impact, I believe it’s sprawl will destroy open agricultural land, wildlife habitat, and will impact water quality and quantity.

Community input through Envision Chaffee County overwhelmingly called for the preservation of open space and agricultural lands, the protection of wildlife and aquifers, and has loudly voiced its opposition to development sprawl in our valley. County voters just passed funding for the Common Ground program through Ballot Measure 1A, in part to help conserve and protect open agricultural land. The Centerville development flies in the face of those efforts.

An update of the 20-year-old county comprehensive plan is imminent, which may seek to limit development to near existing towns. This strategy would help reduce sprawl and safeguard open space and would reflect the input gathered from county residents through multiple efforts over several years. Subdivisions like the Centerville development are what an updated comprehensive plan would seek to avoid. I think a moratorium on all major subdivisions is necessary until the comprehensive plan is finished, so that subdivision proposals can be coherently considered using a plan that reflects the goals of county constituents.

The Centerville development proposal should not go forward. But if it does somehow manage to proceed, there should be exhaustive mitigation by the developer for impacts to wildlife, water quality downstream, neighboring agricultural lands, and the scenic byway.

Allowing this development to be built would mark the beginning of the end for Chaffee County as we know it, starting our valley down the slippery slope toward becoming another Vail or Roaring Fork valley. The Centerville housing development is not compatible with the goals and character of Chaffee County.

Susan Greiner

Buena Vista, Colorado