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After five months of input meetings and public sessions listening to what residents believe is important for the development of the new Chaffee County Comprehensive Plan, the county and its planning consultant want to know – did they hear you right? The public will have two opportunities this coming week to drop in and weigh in on the draft comprehensive plan.

You can tell them either ‘You heard me right’ or — ‘That’s not what I said.”

“This represents a significant step forward for our county. We’ve changed a lot since the last plan was adopted 20 years ago,” said Commissioner Keith Baker. “This is a big deal for us. We need to hear from as many residents as possible about what is important to them.”

The county has arranged for two storefronts to be set up, one in Salida and one in Buena Vista to allow for one-on-one conversations with the staff from the county’s planning consultant team about the preliminary Together Chaffee Comprehensive Plan draft.


10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tuesday Dec. 10

Scout Hut, 210 E. Sackett Ave.

Buena Vista

10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 11

410 E. Main St. (formerly the Watershed BV)

Ryan Dull with the U.S. Forest Service works with volunteers to construct a log “worm” fence at the northeastern entrance to Browns Canyon National Monument (courtesy photo).

The draft plans are based on comments from the first rounds of public input, incorporating some initial recommendations and strategies to manage future county growth to protect our landscapes, and provide affordable housing options so people can both live and work in the valley.

The duality of hopes and concerns has been present since the beginning of the comprehensive plan process. The goal of the plan is to manage growth in a way that protects what its residents love about the Arkansas River Valley and Chaffee County.

The challenge: to identify a shared vision that will ensure that Chaffee County remains economically vibrant and creates opportunities for everyone, not just some.

Over the course of the past several months, six themes have emerged that have become the foundation for the comprehensive plan. Those attending the drop in storefronts will see visuals representing those six themes:

  • People and County Character
  • Attainable and Inclusive Housing
  • Connectivity and Mobility
  • Resilient and Sustainable Environment
  • Jobs and Economy
  • Growth and Land Use

Rough goals and action strategies have been suggested for each one of those six themes. That’s where the public comes in – the county and the planning consultants hired to facilitate this work need feedback from as many members of the public as possible.

“Guiding future growth and the regulation of development are the commonly recognized objectives of a comprehensive plan, but there’s more to it than that,” said Commissioner Greg Felt. “A good plan will guide investments in roads and infrastructure, provision of community services, and allocation of funding for goals like affordable housing, wildfire mitigation, and protection of our natural resources. It should establish priorities, but also speak to the trade-offs between potentially conflicting solutions.”

“We are working hard to assess our strengths and challenges as we look towards the future,” said County Planning Manager Jon Roorda. “Through Together Chaffee we can build a strong foundation to guide decision-making consistent with the future we all want. This needs to be a regional decision that respects our common values …these drafts aren’t final by any means. We cannot do this without the community.”

For more information about the schedule, the process and the aspects that should be contained in a comprehensive plan, readers can go to

For those interested in the feedback received to date upon which the comprehensive plan draft is based, readers can go here: