Chaffee County officials and CTA Architects, Engineers and Planners of Denver hosted a community meeting Wednesday at Salida SteamPlant to discuss the county’s comprehensive plan as the county develops a new version.
Commissioner Keith Baker welcomed everyone to the meeting, explaining the steps of the process. He said the county and CTA are still in the information-gathering phase and are looking for as much input as they can gather.
About 80 people attended the meeting, which gave them an opportunity to respond to questions Wayne Freeman, point man for CTA, presented to the crowd.
The presenters first tried to use a system in which participants could answer the questions by texting their answers, but it appeared the local cell system overloaded, as about half the crowd said their texts were not going through. Instead, attendees provided feedback by raising their hands.
Some of the questions and answers included:
• In what parts of the county should high density be focused? Answer included: anywhere, Nathrop/Johnson Village, adjacent to the municipalities, rural areas or next to transportation corridors.
• What types of housing should the county consider for affordable housing? Answers included: townhouses, single-family houses, tiny homes, apartments or other.
• What tools should the county consider to support business? Answers: business parks, opportunity zones, business-supporting infrastructure, tax incentives or supporting affordable housing for workforce.
• What are the most significant health care issues? Answers: Lack of child care, no continuation of care, lack of behavioral/mental health care or having to leave the county for care.
All of the questions can be accessed and answered through CTA’s website for the comprehensive plan, together.chaffeecounty.org, or on the Facebook page Together Chaffee County.
Attendees also had the opportunity to write and post notes on their thoughts and concerns about different areas of the county – Salida, Poncha Springs, mid-county and Buena Vista.
Some of the issues brought up for Salida included changing residential lots back to 5 acres, no more island subdivisions, connecting Buena Vista and Salida by trails and allowing tiny houses as accessory dwelling units (ADUs).
Poncha Springs issues included public transportation, safe access across U.S. 50 for bike trails and businesses, need for a primary school and additional retail.
Mid-county issues were protection of ranching and agriculture, public transportation, changing new residential lots from 2 acres to 10 acres and incentives for affordable energy.
Some of the issues posted for Buena Vista and Johnson Village included public transportation, more affordable housing and mobile home parks, slowing growth and more recycling.