Envision Chaffee County – Frequently Asked Questions

How will Envision Chaffee County produce results?

Chaffee County’s resilient community is strongly tied to its natural and rural assets. Our quality of life provides lifestyle tradeoffs to urban prosperity, attracting and retaining residents with extraordinary abilities, levels of education, and commitment to the small community. This talent fuels unusual innovation and an ability to develop new solutions to complex issues.

The county’s long-term sustainability will depend on developing a shared community understanding of the inevitability of growth, and of ways to balance economic vitality and conservation of the things that make Chaffee County special. Through Envision Chaffee County, the community is defining the vision and crafting solutions together, developing a broadly supported plan for the future.

How does the planning process work?

Envision Chaffee County is hosting a series of professionally facilitated work sessions over the course of eight months, from October 2017 to May 2018. The Envision Team leads and progressively connects more of the community to the project through multiple avenues, such as an online survey, personal interviews and small-group presentations. The Envision Team will work through two phases:

  • From October through January, the project hosts a series of three, 4-hour work sessions designed to craft a community vision for 2030, develop ways to measure progress toward that vision, and develop working groups that will create plans to make the vision reality. Between each work session, the team engages with the Chaffee County community to gather feedback and input.
  • From January through May of 2018, the project will host a series of four, 4-hour facilitated work sessions. Meetings will be designed to investigate the root challenges of reaching goals, develop ideas to create the future we want, and create action plans for success. The full community is informed and engaged between these working sessions.

How can I get involved in planning?

Envision Team members are crafting the vision, defining ways to measure progress, creating working group topics, and then will join one or more working groups. The time commitment is four-hour work sessions, plus time to engage folks you know in the community between work sessions to gather their feedback. The first meetings took place in October and November. Visit the Envision Team Information page for more information.

Working Groups will focus on specific topics from January to May. Working group members will define challenges to creating the future we want and ideas to solve those issues, and develop a plan to move the ideas forward.

We need help completing research on solutions that have worked in other communities, gathering information from our community and much more. The project will collate existing local planning efforts and studies to build on current knowledge. Use your technical skills to help the effort!

Everyone is encouraged to get involved. To find out more about the Envision Team and Working Groups, to become a research resource, or to submit comments and suggestions, contact envision@centralcoloradoconservancy.org.

Does Envision Chaffee County support existing planning efforts?

Yes. Envision Chaffee County will include previous and ongoing studies and efforts to help develop a vision, ideas and plans for the future. We will:

  • Engage the broader community to understand the challenges and opportunities associated with balancing growth and our quality of life.
  • Develop a shared vision and plan at the county level.
  • Work with diverse groups and agencies to build on and connect the great ideas and efforts already underway, with a focus toward conservation of our natural assets and sense of community.
  • Provide information to the public and elected officials about key priorities, challenges and ways that they can support the effort.
  • Connect to diverse in-progress efforts such as the Bureau of Land Management’s plan to manage 45,708 acres in Chaffee County, and the Chaffee County Housing Policy Action Committee (HPAC)’s countywide effort to solve the housing problem.

How did Envision Chaffee County get started?

As a result of collaborative work by a core team of nine community leaders, the Central Colorado Conservancy received a 12-month, $100K grant from the LOR Foundation to support Envision Chaffee County. Commissioner Greg Felt, and Conservancy Executive Director Andrew Mackie and Board President Cindy Williams, were invited to apply for the LOR Foundation-funded program.

The core team wrote the grant and won funding for Chaffee County. The team included Buena Vista Mayor Joel Benson, Buena Vista business owner Dave Kelly, Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District Project Manager Chelsey Nutter, Chaffee County Economic Development Corp. (CCEDC) Chairman Jeff Post, CCEDC Director Wendell Pryor, and Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA) Executive Director Alison Ramsey.

Chaffee County Commissioners voted unanimously on Sept. 12, 2017, to convene Envision Chaffee County, signing a Proclamation that supports the project and further states the BOCC looks forward to receiving findings and recommended actions.

What is Central Colorado Conservancy’s role in Envision Chaffee County?

Central Colorado Conservancy is a partner in Envision Chaffee County. As a nonprofit, the Conservancy administers the grant and will provide additional assistance such as staff and office support. The organization’s board members volunteered more than $50,000 of in-kind management and coordination services in the project’s early stages, including work by Board President Cindy Williams, who is the Envision Chaffee County project leader.

Who is the LOR Foundation?

Founded by Ed Jaramillo and Amy Wyss in 2007, the LOR Foundation strives to enhance livability in the Intermountain West through community-driven solutions. The nonprofit partners with rural communities in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming with a focus on improving Livability, Opportunity and Responsibility (L-O-R).

The organization believes communities should be actively engaged in land use planning, preserving and enhancing the characteristics of their towns, and shaping how their surrounding landscapes are accessed by the public. The Foundation supports community-driven solutions because they allow residents to develop a vision for the future of their towns and receive the support to achieve it.

How is the grant funding being spent?

Funding will be focused to provide professional resources including facilitation, community engagement, and education. Grant funding is being augmented by growing in-kind donations of professional services.