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Why This Matters

Anyone who lives or visits here cannot help but see how much there is to love about Chaffee County. We live in a beautiful valley bounded by the highest concentration of 14’ers in the state with exceptional access to recreational amenities. Active ranchlands and farms connect us to the county’s history and provide a stable economic base. Our towns are vibrant supported by expanding arts, entrepreneurs, and volunteers who contribute to our high quality of life.   

But our community changed a lot since the late 1980s and this makes some question where we are heading. While some changes in our community have been positive, there is no doubt we face challenges. Since rebounding from the recession in 2007-2008, Chaffee County has been discovered. We are seeing a steady population increase of both new residents and visitors. Even though our economy is growing, not everyone is benefiting. Despite our progress, we are still struggling to develop a more diverse economy with better paying jobs and create enough affordable housing to keep our community livable. At the development level, we are seeing increasingly complex applications that were not anticipated when the last community comprehensive plan was completed in 2000. As a result, we are operating without a clear vision or goals for how to address these, and many more, new challenges.

Our community has demonstrated it can work together to address challenges and plan for the future. We have a new Office of Housing that emerged from the Housing Policy Advisory Committee. Envision Chaffee County brought our community together and has resulted in concrete projects and a community foundation. Yet there is more to do. Our next challenge is to come together to find a way to maintain what we love about living here while building a more prosperous future for all.

Our Opportunity: A New County Comprehensive Plan

To initiate this important dialogue, the County contracted with CTA Consultants in early 2019 to update Chaffee County’s Comprehensive Plan. Comprehensive plans are a useful policy tool that creates a vision for how a community changes and develops over time. It clarifies how the built environment – infrastructure, housing, transportation, recreation amenities, businesses and industry – support and complement the less tangible, but equally important, aspects of community – the economy, health, the environment, and quality of life. Over the next year, local governments and residents will work together to answer this question: How do we ensure Chaffee County is vibrant and creating opportunity for everyone, while also protecting the things we love that make Chaffee County unique?

Building upon the vision and goals identified in Envision Chaffee, Together Chaffee will engage residents from across the county to:

  • Identify our concerns about the future.

  • Build agreement on what we the future to look like.

  • Understand our opportunities and challenges.

  • Prioritize goals we want to work towards and strategies to get there.

  • Identify areas for future development and priorities for resource protection.

  • Create a plan that is consistent with our vision.

The first outcome of Together Chaffee will be:

  • A Chaffee County Comprehensive Plan that will include the following chapters:

    • Our vision and goals for the future

    • A Future Land Use Map and Plan (FLUP)

    • An implementation plan

A second outcome of Together Chaffee will be building Chaffee County’s capacity to address complex social issues. In partnership with Chaffee County’s Office of Housing and Public Health Department, Together Chaffee will engage in a two-year effort to explore challenges for addressing affordable housing and equity issues in our community. As part of Together Chaffee, the community will have an opportunity to participate in learning forums on specific topics and facilitated problem solving dialogues to inform the comprehensive plan and related action plans.


Finally, a third outcome will be that following the completion of the comprehensive plan, the County will engage a consultant in 2021 to assist in updating the development code to align with the community’s vision beginning.

Comprehensive Plan Road Map

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