Michael Forman

Michael Forman of Buena Vista places a pin into a map of Chaffee County to show where his home is located Wednesday at the Together Chaffee County kickoff. Color-coded pins indicated age groups to give a picture of county demographics.

A community gathering at Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort Wednesday served as a kickoff for the Together Chaffee County project to update the county’s comprehensive plan.

Wayne Freeman of CTA Group said the firm has been hired by the county to facilitate that process.

Freeman said the work done through the Envision Chaffee County process was a good start for the work to be done on the comprehensive plan.

He said they plan to use the information gathered during that process as a building block for the update.

The county’s comprehensive plan was last updated in 2000.

“This is an area where growth is occurring, Freeman said. “You’ve been found,” he added.

The Together Chaffee County website defines the comprehensive Master Plan as a framework and guide for accomplishing community aspirations and intentions.

“The Master Plan provides the framework for regulatory tools like zoning, subdivision regulations, annexations and other policies,” the website states.

“It promotes the community’s vision, goals, objectives and policies; establishes a process for orderly growth and development; addresses both current and long-term needs; and provides for a balance between the natural and built environment.

“Elements addressed in a plan may include: recreation and tourism, transportation, land use, economic development, affordable housing, environment, parks and open space, natural and cultural resources, hazards, capital improvements, water supply and conservation, efficiency in government, sustainability, energy and urban design.”

During the open house Wednesday, stations were set up in the resort’s pavilion to allow the public to comment on four central topics, which were taken straight from the Envision process.

Those topics include:

• Healthy lands, waters and wildlife in balance with outdoor recreation

• Community members are able to live locally and benefit from an increasingly diversified economy.

• A friendly, supportive community where participation is encouraged and shared cultural elements connect us.

• Sustainable agriculture, rural landscapes and development focused in town.

At one station community members were invited to mark where they lived in Chaffee County with color-coded pins that indicated age groups.

At the others locals were invited to comment on each of the topics using sticky notes and flags inserted into maps.

The range of comments included questions, concerns, criticisms and recommendations.

Chaffee County Commissioner Greg Felt said the commissioners convened the process in conjunction with the Planning Commission and hired CTA Group to guide them through the process and to get to a place with broad agreement.

He said the county will be working closely with CTA for the next 10-12 months to bring the comprehensive plan update to a final form.

Felt said Envision was a great community experience “a lot of people were able to participate in.”

He said that process set the tone going forward in terms of substance, communication, listening, understanding each other and collaboration.

“That’s the real legacy of Envision to this process,” he said.

More community outreach is planned throughout the process.

A survey offered at the event and other information are available at together.chaffeecounty.org.

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