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The official Chaffee County notice of public hearing for renewal consideration of the Nestlé Waters North America 1041 permit has been set for April 21, 2020. Anticipating heavy community turnout, the county has set the land use application hearing to begin at 1 p.m. that day in the Buena Vista Community Center, 715 East Main St., Buena Vista. Nestlé is seeking to renew their 10-year state permit, known as a 1041, for its water pumping facility located on a site next to the Arkansas River, connected to a storage facility in Johnson Village.

The hearing has been set back at least twice already; the first time in Oct. 2019, when adequate public notice was not given by the county for the hearing. That necessitated county commissioners extending the initial permit, issued in 2009, by six months, near the end of April 2020.

But during a Dec. 2019 BoCC session, commissioners appeared not altogether pleased to learn that Nestlé had asked for the required public hearing to be moved forward to Jan. 2020. Commissioners nixed that attempt and announce the hearing would remain in April.

It would appear that commissioners are aware that renewal of the permit issued in 2009, for Nestlé Water to take water from Chaffee County for its branded, bottled water product line, might be more contentious than it was ten years ago.

The world has changed a lot since 2009 and public scrutiny may be more intense this time around. In 2009 the country was in the grips of the Great Recession, the most serious economic downturn since the 1930s. Since then, public sensibilities to water shortages, heightening wildfire danger and the need to protect our natural environments have also grown. A decade later, there is also a growing public attention surrounding the impact of plastics, waste and landfills on the global environment, plastic being the packaging of choice for much of the Nestlé product line.

The combined impact of those factors might not be a rubber stamp approval of the state permit. The county has been preparing for the hearing, making the specifics of the Nestlé Waters application available for public inspection in the Development Services Office at 104 Crestone Ave., or at the Buena Vista Annex, at 112 Linderman Ave.. The county says that it will soon be posted on the Chaffee County web page at on the Planning and Zoning page.

Those members of the public wanting to express their opinions should write a letter and submit it electronically to, or contact county staff, at 719-530-5566. It is not considered appropriate to personally contact individual county commissioners or planning commission members while an application is pending.

An earlier Ark Valley Voice story documents the Oct. discussion:

Nestlé Water 1041 Permit decision delayed six months

Ark Valley Voice will be doing follow up coverage about Nestlé  facilities in the county, their reclamation of the land on which their pumping station sits, as well as talking with those both for and against the permit renewal.

Those wishing to submit letters to the editor on this topic should submit the to