Planning and Zoning
Landfill and Recycling
Fairgrounds and more
Questions & Answers from the debate hosted by Chaffee County Patriots and moderated by Dan R. of Heart of the rockies radio
What are citizens telling you about living and working in Chaffee County?
- People are worried about rampant growth, over-building, and loss of the unique character that makes Chaffee County a great place to live. They are at the same time concerned about insufficient affordable housing for the workforce of Chaffee County. The needs of current residents, especially the workforce, are underserved compared to the visitors that come for a weekend. Citizens also believe the people in charge to make decisions based on short-term expediency, instead of looking towards what the county will need in 10, 20, or 50 years. This is particularly true for our water supply. I think it’s important to find a balance, but long term risks need to be in the mix. I will listen to resident concerns, and make sure it’s clear what decisions are made, and why.
How can you make difference to provide more affordable housing in Chaffee County?
- I want to look for grant programs and building incentives for multi-family buildings that would have studios and 1 bedrooms. Perhaps a bunkhouse approach for seasonal workers. These could sleep many but provide common areas for kitchen, sanitation and wi-fi. These things might need to be the county supporting the cities or built in the more populated but unincorporated county areas. Building must happen so that we can balance out supply and demand for single family homes. Just as importantly I want to make sure that happens in balance with ranchers so that they can continue being able to ranch, which is vital to our economy and character. and that when subdivisions are made it is either in larger lot divides like 5 or 10 acres or close clustering with open space. For example instead of a subdividing a 20 acre lot into 10 houses on 2 acres each those 10 houses are on a ¼ to ½ acre each ,close together, sharing water and septic, and the rest of the 20 acres is co owned and left as open space. Ideas and collaborating and the drive to get something done is how I can make a difference.
What skills will you use in working with the other two Commissioners to get things done for the citizens of Chaffee County?
- I’m skilled at being open to all people and learning the way they look at the world. I ask a lot of questions and am open to input. Working together in a respectful, open way is something I very much value. I demand honesty from myself and others. I want to find out if we have the same end goal and just different paths to get there and figure out how we can agree without giving up what is important.
How will you demonstrate that you are a commissioner for all citizens, not just your political leaning?
- I am registered and am running as unaffiliated. In many ways the two party system has failed our nation. I would gather this is why nearly 47% of Chaffee Voters are also registered as unaffiliated. People are expected to have blind loyalty to a party platform, much of which they may not agree with. I take every issue as it comes. I represent my constituents, not myself. If I determine the majority of my constituents feel strongly about an issue, I will vote what they want, even if it doesn’t match my personal opinion on the matter. There are usually multiple right ways to do things, just as there are many wrong ways. I can compromise on details that fit within a workable framework. But I will not vote for something I think is wrong or unworkable just to pretend there is a consensus. I know it is impossible for everyone to be happy with every outcome. It’s my job as commissioner to find answers that work for the people of Chaffee County.
If elected, what should the priority of the county commissioners be in the next 12 months?
- We need to find positive solutions to the needs of our county. A priority I have is bringing back recycling. This might seem like such a small thing but it’s really important. Working with the new land use code and finding a balance to keeping our beautiful open space and a place for growth. Finding incentives for building multi family low rent buildings so we can keep our young and old residences here. Making sure there is open communication with the public and openly answering questions on what is going on and making sure people feel heard.
The Commissioners Oversee Over 20 Departments. What’s Going Well And Where Are Needed Improvements?
- I feel we have a great county and good people working in it but many departments need updating to be continuing to move in the right direction such as reassessing projects and codes every 5-8 years instead of 10-20 years. Again our landfill needs to add recycling, That has to happen. Short term rentals need to be continually looked at so that we don’t lose our communities. The ordinance from 2021 was a start but needs some revisions. The airport needs some upgrades for safety and weather and there could also be some integration with school programs. We need to make sure the building department stays up to date on the latest sewer and well innovations so that we don’t deny best use practices to efficiently use our water. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel on our county's issues. We do need to learn what other places have done and what has worked, not worked, and was not tried and learn from that.