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Chaffee County commissioners and members of the Planning Commission met with Wayne Freeman and representatives from Cushing Terrell Monday to discuss work done on the county’s new comprehensive plan, before drop-in public events scheduled for today and Wednesday in Salida and Buena Vista.

Freeman said so far the consultants have collected 413 online surveys, conducted 44 interviews with key stakeholders and hosted five neighborhood meetings, two open houses and two school meetings with students.

The drop-in meetings will present a first draft of preliminary goals and strategies for public review. The meetings are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the Salida Rotary Scout Hut, 210 E. Sackett Ave., and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday at the former Watershed building, 410 E. Main St. in Buena Vista.

Among the items the drop-in meetings will offer include a look at possible future land use maps and a chance for feedback.

The public will also get the chance to play county commissioner, being given $100,000 in “Chaffee County Bucks” and having to decide what to spend them on, with choices like affordable housing, child care facilities and infrastructure improvements.

Freeman told the county and planning commissioners some of the information gathered thus far.

He said the two biggest issues have been the need for more affordable housing and the desire for growth management and protection of open space. Freeman said the first issue was brought up 16 percent of the time, while the second was brought up in 15 percent of the comments.

Some of the other items and concerns that have been brought up include: a need for multifamily housing, stronger planning and building regulations, a recreation center, limitations to short-term rentals, a lack of economic diversity and being less reliant on tourism, a desire for activities for middle and high school students such as a skating rink or movie theater and the need for affordable child care.

Freeman said another question they asked residents was how much they thought Chaffee County was expanding. Three percent said there wasn’t enough growth, 39 percent said it was just the right amount of growth, 37 percent said there was too much growth, and 20 percent said there was way too much growth.

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