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Here are three things to take away from the Jan. 14 meeting of the Buena Vista board of trustees:

1 The board again discussed possible alterations to the town’s codes related to camping in town with the goal of making the code clearer to residents and easier to enforce for Grant Bryans, the code enforcement officer.

In previous discussions on this topic, trustees agreed to create a legal framework for so-called seasonal camping in which businesses that bring in much of their workforce for the summer, such as rafting outfitters, provide a place for those transient employees to live.

Seasonal camping will be allowed under the Unified Development Code in the Industrial zone with a temporary use permit.

The board also agreed to create a permit for parking on private property for a special event.

Bryans said that this would give the town oversight and leverage in requiring safety benchmarks to be met in cases where parking for special events may take place off public land.

The issue of how to moderate camping on private property – such as allowing a person to live in the RV parked in your driveway – took up the bulk of the discussion in Tuesday’s work session.

Trustees sought to avoid being overly restrictive on what a property owner can do on their land while also looking for an assurance that the town would not someday look like a campground throughout its neighborhoods.

Bryans suggested a permit that would allow private property camping for no more than 21 consecutive user days per taxable parcel with the appropriate permit, which must be displayed visible from the road.

Bryans initially suggested that the permit would come without cost, but trustees suggested that a nominal fee would be better to compensate for staff time.

2 Chaffee County director of development services Dan Swallow gave the board his year-end report of building activity in Buena Vista and throughout the county.

In short, there was a lot, and much of it was in Buena Vista.

Not only did BV have more single family units permitted than either of the county’s other municipalities, it very nearly had more than both of the other municipalities combined, Swallow said.

Last year saw 128 single-family dwelling permits issued in the unincorporated parts of Chaffee County, 36 in Salida, 51 in Poncha Springs and 79 in Buena Vista.

In BV, that averages out to a request to build a new home about 1 and a half times per week.

In 2018, BV had 57 single family dwelling permits issued, which was then a record-setting amount. Poncha Springs had 22 and Salida had 77, Swallow’s report said.

In 2012, Salida saw 6 single family permits, Poncha Springs 2 and BV 9.

Total building permits issued increased 15.18 percent over the previous year, with 3756 permits issued throughout the county. In Buena Vista, 560 total permits were issued, growing from 526 in 2018. In Poncha Springs, which saw 188 permits issued in 2018, 377 were issued in 2019.

Swallow calculated that the total number of permits issued in the county has grown 165.82 percent since 2010.

3 Trustees approved a hotel and restaurant license for Spark Provisions, owned by Seth and Justine Witherspoon, which will operate out of the former Watershed building at 410 East Main Street.

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