Wiping his hands before shaking hands with people entering BV Auto, Duff Lacy, who co-owns the business with his brother, looks like the epitome of the country boy, which he is. He grew up on a large agribusiness chicken farm in Loveland and worked in Greeley before moving to Buena Vista more than 20 years ago.
“My dad began coming here first, 25 years ago, and we were always here. When we got the chance to buy a business here and move, we did,” says Lacy. “I wanted my kids to grow up knowing this lifestyle – to be part of a real community.”
Lacy, who is completing eight years as a Buena Vista trustee, says he’s running for mayor because he believes in giving back to his community.
“When I say I’m going to do something, I do it. I won’t make promises I can’t keep. It’s not about controlling things … It’s a lot of work to serve, but helping your community gets in your blood. Over the years I’ve met thousands of people, seen their kids grow up, get married, settle down. What it really boils down to is this place is family and I’m running to help our families.”
Regarding the community’s challenges, Lacy is quick to name the housing challenge endemic across the entire county and the need for living-wage jobs, but he also brings up short-term rentals.
“I’m not condemning them – people have a right to run a business, just as I do. It’s that we need to figure out housing for the people who are already here. We need a moratorium on short-term rentals in residential areas, at least until we figure this out, and I know we can.”
Lacy says Buena Vista’s current board of trustees has accomplished a lot, including progress on the town’s Unified Development Code, which he says should be approved at the next board meeting. He notes that there is so much happening, so fast, that it is a challenge for the town to get ahead of the changes. He also notes that the city’s comprehensive plan is more than 5 years old and needs a major review, something that would be at the top of his list if he becomes mayor.
That plan establishes things like lot sizes and building heights and includes the old-town overlay, put in place to protect the feel of the historic downtown. It also addresses additional dwelling units,or ADUs. More of those could increase density and rather than going to short term rentals, would provide more workforce housing.
“The comp plan is the basis of actions we take – including housing. I mean, we can’t have families living in cars during the summer and sleeping at friend’s houses in the winter, which is what is happening. That’s traumatizing for kids not to know where home is.”
Another challenge, says Lacy, is that the town is separating, something he says he doesn’t want to see happen. Lacy acknowledges there is a contingent in town that feels threatened by a new generation of people moving in, but says that what is needed is respect for both sides.
“I don’t think they know each other. Heck, we’ve got folks moving here who have been coming here as families since 1964. How can you call them new when they consider this home and they have long- standing connections here?”
Lacy says what makes a strong community is communication and a willingness to work together to solve problems.
“It’s not East Main, or South Main, or West Main or the highway corridor – it’s all Buena Vista. People here are passionate about this place. The deal is that I think people feel threatened that we’re going to lose our small town. We need a healthy dose of communication between the people moving here and the people who have lived here. This isn’t about old versus new, it’s about two guys running for mayor of Buena Vista. We just need to sit at a table and talk.”
He says people who are trying to frame the mayoral election as “old versus new” miss the point. “The thing is, if Jed (Selby) and I sat down and talked (which Lacy admitted they hadn’t), we’d talk about the same things, I think. Either way this turns out, I’m going to push for that; that we really talk, and we get people talking with each other. That’s where things get done.”
Lacy responds quickly when asked how he hopes the voters of Buena Vista view him. “What people should know about me is plain and simple: I will do the best I can do for them. When I make a promise, I keep it”