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An aerial view of the Salida Airport Harriet Alexander Field property and runway. Dan Smith photo.

It took a second public hearing, but during their Tuesday, May 8 session, the Chaffee Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) gave unanimous approval for a special event permit for Steamboat Springs-based Bonfire Entertainment to produce the popular bluegrass concert the 2023 Renewal Festival, on the grounds of The Meadows on the edge of Buena Vista.

Billy Strings will perform a two-night event at his 2023 Renewal Festival setting at The Meadows in Chaffee County, CO Image courtesy of Fireside Entertainment.

Renewal 2023 is now officially set for September 21-23, 2023 at the Meadows Farm, 14822 CR 350, Buena Vista. The event is proposed for 7,500 spectators. There will be amplified sound and a liquor license.

As it turns out, the initial public hearing had to be redone due to what was referred to as “legitimate questions about how the hearing had been publicly noticed. All previous testimony and public comments from the earlier public hearing were rolled into this second hearing.

But there was no new public comment, which some might take to mean that this event has great support in this valley. In fact, County Development Director Miles Cottom commented that the event had the approval of all the major county public safety entities from EMS to Sheriff’s office, Chaffee County Public Health and the Office of Emergency Management.

He added that it would qualify for the county’s new multi-year special event permit, but CEO Scotty Stoughton had made a point that he is working to perfect the entire event plan and wants that done before he submits for a multi-year permit.

For the past couple of years, the Renewal event has partnered with a nonprofit to meet the sound level requirements. This year, as with last year, its nonprofit partner will be the Chaffee County Community Foundation.

The motion to approve Resolution 2023-32 covering the event was made by Commissioner P.T. Wood, seconded by Commissioner Greg Felt and passed unanimously.

Subdivision Exemption for Public Benefit

In other business, the BoCC took up consideration of the RGP Ranch Subdivision Exemption for Public Benefit.

Subdivisions are allowed for public benefit, and this request would protect both the Salida Airport at Harriet Alexander Field runway as well as parts of the critical infrastructure of the airport.

The request is to subdivide 190.22 acres into two lots with the Public Benefit lot being 12.7 acres, created to protect the Runway Protection Zone at the west end of the airport runway. The request by applicants Tracy Guccione and David Padoven for 10226 CR 140 has to be made to both Chaffee County (one-half interest) and the City of Salida (also one-half interest in the airport.)

There is no infrastructure required for this use, it merely creates a safety zone at the end of the runway that cannot be developed to enhance the airport’s use envelope. Planner Christie Barton noted that the only request had been by Xcel Energy to make sure their easement is large enough for vehicles to access.

There were no public comments during the public hearing and the BoCC approved it unanimously..

“We want to express our gratitude to the families for helping out with this — it’s a good fair deal all around,” said Felt.