Was your New Year’s resolution to attend more meetings of the Buena Vista board of trustees? No? Here’s what you missed from the Jan. 12 meeting:
1 The board heard from Earl Richmond, the town’s recreation director and a member of Envision Chaffee County’s Recreation in Balance board along with Kim Marquis, the Envision coordinator, about the results of a survey of the county’s recreational resources conducted this fall.
The results of the survey, taken by almost 4,000 people, show room for improvement: Graded on the county’s success in implementing three goals, the county got a report card with a B, a D+ and a C.
“Essentially what we want to do here is develop a plan that addresses a three-pronged goal: We want to make sure that in the future as recreation continues to grow we continue to have healthy forests, waters, wildlife and working lands; sustainable economic benefits to our tourism industry, and as well, exceptional multi-use experiences.”
Marquis reported that the county received the highest marks for sustaining economic benefits of outdoor recreation, but received “one tick above an F” for the goal of maintaining healthy forests,waters, wildlife and working lands.
“The reason Envision does these report cards is to try and share a lot of information and kind of get people on the same page about what is happening. What are we thinking about, what’s happening and what is the data to back up those feelings.”
In her report, Marquis shared data from wildlife and recreation management agencies that increased campsite use is displacing wildlife, that increased camping along the river may threaten the Arkansas’ status as a Gold-Medal fishery, and a datapoint from the survey that 56% of Chaffee County agriculture operators said “increasing negative interactions with recreators (which cost more than $75,000 per year) may cause me to stop operating locally.”
Marquis and Richmond were hopeful, however, that with concerted effort the county could achieve a straight-A report card in several years.
That hope was buoyed by comments received through the survey from residents that urged action to save the landscapes they love.
Marquis said 75-95% of residents and visitors favor limiting recreation development in areas critical to wildlife, focusing recreation development in or near populated areas, greater rules enforcement, closing inappropriate campsites, requiring human waste removal, designated dispersed camping and more seasonal closures.
2 The board also approved a public improvement agreement with Bus Stop LLC, the developers of La Vista on the corner of Main Street and Court Street.
The agreement requires the developer to provide a total of $167,285.20 of improvements to public infrastructure.
3 The board approved the appointments of two at-large members to the nine-person board of directors to the Chaffee Housing Authority: a 2-year term for Patrick Post and a 1-year term for Monica Haskell.
The at-large seats were initially intended to be filled by representatives from Poncha Springs before that town pulled out of the Housing Authority agreement last year.
Last year, trustees voted to send trustee Amy Eckstein and Joseph Teipel to the board to represent Buena Vista.