Draft – Saguache County Master Plan 2009


Draft – Saguache County Master Plan 2009
The Saguache County Master Plan guides the conservation and development of the unincorporated portions of Saguache County. Colorado law requires every city and county in the state to prepare and adopt a Master plan for the physical development of the jurisdiction. While the law establishes specific requirements for the contents of the general plan, within that framework each community has the latitude to design its own future. Through extensive public participation, many individual residents from different parts of the County and walks of life have contributed to the creation of this document.

Vision Statement
The Saguache County Master Plan is a practical statement of the aspirations of the community of Saguache County citizens, to prepare for and shape the course of growth and development to protect and enhance the quality of life in Saguache County for ourselves and future generations. It is understood that an effective plan must evolve as circumstances change and new possibilities emerge. This Plan is designed to find the most appropriate place for those new possibilities while protecting the qualities and attributes of the County that make living here a treasured experience for those who have chosen to.

What Is a Master Plan and What Does It Mean?

The Master
Planning Process is the cornerstone for a community to define land use patterns and guide developmentrelated public policy into the future. Although planning statutes use the terms “master plan” and “Comp plan” without distinction, they are not identical products. Colorado law requires every city and county in the state to prepare and adopt a Master long-range general plan for the physical development of the jurisdiction. However Master planning in Colorado generally includes planning for social and economic factors beyond the traditional land use


Draft – Saguache County Master Plan 2009
plan. This relative flexibility allows the County to transcend traditional physical growth policies, and broaden the impact of the Master plan to include issues that reach beyond its physical development. The Saguache County Master Plan (SCCP) covers all of Saguache County except the area covered by the Crestone-Baca Sub-area Master Plan and the incorporated towns of Bonanza, Center, Saguache, Moffat, Crestone and Hooper. The purpose of the Master Plan is to guide Planning Commission decisions, the adoption of land use regulations and aid the communities in developing in ways that reflect and perpetuate our core values. More specifically, the County is directed to develop a Master Plan for the general purpose of “guiding and accomplishing a coordinated, adjusted, and harmonious development of the county . . . which in accordance with present and future needs and resources, will best promote the health, safety, morals, order, convenience, prosperity, or general welfare of the inhabitants, as well as efficiency and economy in the process of development, including such distribution of population and of the uses of land for urbanization, trade, industry, habitation, recreation, agriculture, forestry, and other purposes as will tend to create conditions favorable to health, safety, energy conservation, transportation, prosperity, civic activities, and recreational, educational, and cultural opportunities; will tend to reduce the wastes of physical, financial or human resources which result from either excessive congestion or excessive scattering of population; and will tend toward an efficient and economic utilization, conservation, and production of the supply of food and water and of drainage, sanitary, and other facilities and resources.” In preparing a Master Plan, the Planning Commission is directed to take careful and Master survey and studies of present conditions and future growth in the County, with due regard to the County’s relationship to the neighboring territories. (CRS 30-28-107) The relevant authorizing sections of the Colorado Revised Statutes are included as Appendix A.

Goals of the County Master Plan
1. Provide policy basis for modifying regulations and for development decisions. The Master Plan provides a framework and parameters for development while maintaining consistency and fairness. It holds decision-makers accountable to follow expressed community ideals. 2. Provide a basis for intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) The SCCP helps identify when and where intergovernmental agreements would benefit the community. By defining the County’s core values, it provides a foundation for common understanding and cooperation.


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3. Provide basis for setting priorities and funding The Plan can aid County officials in determining funding priorities by reflecting the preferences of their constituents.

The objectives of this Plan are to: • Establish land use and growth management policy to guide the general public, and government entities, in providing for future development that protects our rural character, and treasured natural, cultural, historic and economic resources. Preserve our rural lifestyle while connecting with our future by managing the pace, location and patterns of growth in Saguache County. Provide for individualism and fairness for property owners and businesses, while protecting public health, safety and welfare. Protect the quality of natural resources through good stewardship and mitigation planning and practices. Protect working agricultural lands through encouragement of conservation easements and continuing the right to ranch and farm in Saguache County. Provide for the availability of adequate public facilities and services, housing and transportation by requiring commensurate fiscal responsibility in association with new development. Define residential land use and development. Define commercial and industrial land use and development patterns. Consider transportation patterns and road services. Consider impacts of housing options. Consider impacts of development on administration, enforcement, emergency and social services.

• • • • •

• • • • •

Foundations of the Master Plan
The Saguache County Master Plan was created upon the following tenets: 1. Planning is viewed as a proactive process. 2. Land use should be suitable for and compatible with the environmental characteristics of the site of the proposed development. 3. Natural and cultural resources shall be identified, conserved and protected. 4. The Master Plan shall support settlement patterns that reflect the realities of living in Saguache County as described in the “Right to Ranch and Farm”. 5. Growth shall be encouraged in proximity of developed areas. 6. Open lands shall continue to be the defining feature of the landscape of Saguache County. 7. Adequate public facilities and services shall be provided concurrent with development (i.e. development impact fees). 8. Plan components shall support a sustainable, balanced economy.


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Maximum intergovernmental cooperation is desirable for plan implementation. 10. The Master Plan and the implementing rules and regulations shall demonstrate consistent intent. 9.

Orientation – Where is Saguache County?
Saguache County is located in south-central Colorado, about 170 miles southwest of Denver. The County is the largest in the San Luis Valley, covering 3168 square miles, and is separated into 2 distinct regions by the Continental Divide, with the majority of the County lying east of the divide and occupying the northern end of the San Luis Valley (see Figure 1). The resident population of Saguache County is about 7,000. The Valley is bounded both east and west by mountains – the Sangre de Cristo range on the east and the San Juans on the west. The headwaters of the Rio Grande River are located in this valley, and parts of Saguache County lie atop one of the largest freshwater underground aquifers in the continental United States. The western and northwestern slope portions of the County are part of the Colorado and Arkansas River Basins, which are largely forested and agricultural land.

Historic Settlement Patterns
Early Exploration and Occupation The earliest known human occupation in Saguache County dates to 1100 A.D. and is evidenced by the remains of primitive stone shelters or lookouts at high elevations western part of the San Luis Valley. The Utes had long been the dominant culture by the time of the first permanent Spanish settlement. Spanish expeditions reached the San Luis Valley in the 1500’s. Evidence of Spanish mining activity dating to the 1600’s can be found in the southeastern part of the county at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range. The Carnero Creek drainage was also used by Indians as a route into the San Juan and La Garita mountains. Small groups of Utes commonly camped along Saguache Creek during their frequent journeys through the San Luis Valley. In the early 1800’s fur trappers often passed through the San Luis Valley on their way to the San Juan Mountains and Gunnison Valley, using the routes established by the Utes. In the early 1740, Mexico established land grants in the Valley, including the Trinchera, Baca Grande, and Sangre de Cristo. In 1848 the San Luis Valley became a territory of the United States through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.


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Figure 1
The First Permanent Settlements The first permanent settlement in the County was by the Spanish near La Garita in the mid-1800’s. The first non-Spanish settlement in the region occurred in 1865, when soldiers discharged after the Civil War settled in the north of the valley, near present day Bonanza, as well as Villa Grove and Saguache. The Saguache County area boasted 304 residents in 1870. The first settlers started farms on 160 acre tracts granted to them under the federal government’s Homestead Act. Irrigated agriculture originated south of Saguache where natural arroyos were used to deliver agricultural water from Saguache Creek to farmland. Wheat was the principle crop. The grain was milled locally and transported over new toll roads on Poncha Pass and Cochetopa Pass to mining camps in the Colorado Mountains. As the farming industry grew and ranching began to develop in the northern San Luis Valley, the need for organized government and local services grew. Saguache County was officially founded in 1866 from what was formerly part of Costilla County. In 1874 the town of Saguache was founded. Saguache became the county seat and an


Draft – Saguache County Master Plan 2009
important supply center for local ranches and farms, and prospectors who were beginning to explore the surrounding mountains. Growth of the Mining Industry Although agriculture has been the most constant economic activity over the years, mining has played a tremendous “boom and bust” role in the County’s development history. By the 1870’s, interest in mineral exploration in Saguache County was growing. Discoveries of gold and silver deposits were frequently found in the Sangre de Cristo and the San Juan Mountains. Mining camps would spring up overnight as excitement surrounded each new discovery. Often, the camps would be abandoned after just a few months when veins would “play out” or the price of ore would drop. More permanent settlements were established at Rito Alto Creek, San Isabel Creek, Cotton Creek and other locations along the eastern edge of the valley. These small communities typically had a post office, general store, boarding house, and tavern supported by one hundred to two hundred residents. The population of Duncan is reported to have reached 4000 in 1892 before residents were forced to leave by the owners of the Baca Grant, on which the town and mines were illegally located. The residents of Duncan relocated at the town of Liberty, south of the Baca Grant, but the new town never fully developed, as the mines were not very successful. As the mining industry continued its boom/bust cycle, most of the small communities were abandoned and faded away. The first large mineral discoveries with lasting effects were made at Bonanza and Orient Mining Districts in the 1880s. Numerous silver strikes in the Bonanza area resulted in the establishment of several mining camps and mills near present day Bonanza. The camps in the Bonanza area supported such amenities as a local brewery, billiard hall, bowling alley, and hotels. During its heyday in the 1880’s the town of Bonanza had a population of 1500 and was renowned for its thirty-six saloons and seven dance halls. Discovery of iron ore at the Orient Mine east of Villa Grove resulted in a mining camp of 400 people. The Orient Mine supplied the Colorado Coal and Iron Company’s, later changed to CF&I Pueblo steel mills. Although the mining industry continued to cycle, activity at Bonanza and Orient remained relatively stable through the early 1900’s. With completion of the Denver and Rio Grande Railway from Salida to Alamosa in the 1880’s, Villa Grove became a thriving community, functioning as a supply center for the surrounding mines. The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad also completed a line to the Gunnison Valley crossing the Continental Divide at Marshall Pass. The Sargents depot on the west side of Marshall Pass served as a major refueling and maintenance stop for the railroad. The town of Sargents (originally known as Marshalltown) was established in the early 1900’s. In the 1930’s ore from Bonanza was transported by tramway and loaded on the railroad at Shirley, near the Marshall Pass summit. The Marshall Pass railroad route proved to be too difficult to maintain in the winter and was eventually removed. The old water tower and remains of maintenance buildings and coal chutes can still be seen in Sargents. Gold was discovered near Crestone in 1880 and again in 1892. These strikes led to growth of a permanent settlement. When a railroad spur reached Crestone in 1900, the town became the principal mining community on the east side of the San Luis Valley.


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Mineral exploration spread into the western portion of the county following termination of the Los Pinos Indian Agency and Reservation and relocation of a local band of Ute Indians to the Uncomphagre Plateau near Montrose, Colorado. Iris, in the far northwestern part of the county, and Sky City, in the La Garita Mountains, were thriving mining camps near the turn of the century. The Esperanza Mine in Biedall Canyon led to growth of the La Garita area during the same period. These mining activities were responsible for the County’s growth in population. After1930 the County’s population declined steadily until around 1970, when US Census data recorded a population of 3827. By 1987, there were 4785 residents, but then the next couple of years saw a decline. The population returns to the 1987 population levels in 1992. Currently some areas of the County are growing relatively fast, while others have declined slightly. The Town of Crestone, for example, grew 68% between 2000-2006, and population growth in the unincorporated portion of the County was 26% in the same period. It is likely that a significant portion of that growth took place in the Baca Grande subdivision, adjacent to Crestone. In contrast, the towns of Moffat, Center and Saguache all lost population (an average of 4.3%) during the same period. The percentage of the population living in the unincorporated part of the County increased from 47% to 53% in just 6 years. According to the Colorado Dept of Local Affairs, population growth in recent years is 44% “natural” (i.e. births minus deaths) and 56% the result of net migration.

Demographic Basics*:
Population: about 7,000 Under age 5: 6.8% Under age 20: 27.7% 51.5% white 45.7% Hispanic Under age 10: 14.7% Age 60 & over: 18.2% 2.8% Other – mostly Native American/mixed race Foreign Born: 14.5%

Language other than English spoken at home: 36.5% Median Age: 39 Average household size 2.44

Level of Education, population over 25 (2000): Less than High School: 30% High School only: 24.8% Some College: 25.6% College degree or higher: 19.6% Median Household Income (2008): $31,054 Median Family Income (2008): $35,918 Per Capita Income (2008): $15,823 Persons below Federal “poverty line”: 30.6% Average full time income (1999) - males $33,552 Average full time income – females: $25,154
Data taken from multiple sources, including: Map Stats; SLV DRG CDIS; CO Dept of Local Affairs, Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis


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Average travel time to work: 20 minutes Employed civilian population 16 years and over: 2955 Occupations: Management, professional, and related occupations Service occupations Sales and office occupations Farming, ranching, fishing, and forestry occupations Construction, extraction, and maintenance occupations Production, transportation, and material moving occupations 27.9% 13.4% 21.0% 14.3% 11.7% 11.7%

1999 data was the most recent available for breakdown of income on the County level. Overall, median household income increased 18.4% between 2000-2007. This should be kept in mind when the following table, which should be updated as soon as more current figures are available. Income Less than $10,000 $10,000-14,999 $15,000-24,999 $25,000-34,999 $35,000-49,999 $50,000-74,999 $75,000-99,999 $100,000-149,999 $150,000-200,000 Over $200,000 % earning at this level 17.8% 10.8% 20.2% 17.7% 14.4% 11.5% 4.5 2.5% .2% .5%

There were more recent data available for per capita income. The following table reveals no change in what has been historically true. In terms of measurable income, Saguache County is one of the poorest County’s in the State.


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Per Capita Personal Income - 2000-2005
% change 20002005 Rank of 64 CO counties % of CO per capita % of US per capita






Alamosa $20,570 $23,378 $23,251 $24,002 $24,985 Conejos 15,650 16,644 17,599 18,111 18,875 Costillo 17,755 18,935 19,909 20,395 22,158 Mineral 22,100 23,830 25,197 27,126 27,066 Rio Grande 22,277 26,446 25,901 25,594 26,793 Saguache 15,257 18,258 17,046 17,231 17,999 SLV 18,753 23,151 Colorado 33,367 37,510 U.S. 29.843 34,471 Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, December 2007 SLV Development Resources Group C-9 2007 .

21.5 20.6 24.8 22.% 20.3 16.7 23.5 12.4 15.5

50 62 55 40 41 64

66.6 50.3 59.1 72.2 71.1 47.9 61.7 100 91.9

72.5 34.7 64.3 78.5 77.7 52.2 67.2 109 100

Saguache County sub-area character descriptions
Crestone-Baca Area Crestone was officially established on November 4, 1880 after the discovery of gold in Burnt Gulch, east of the town, in 1879. Mining and ranching fueled the early economy of the town. The Town of Crestone was incorporated on March 29, 1901. The Town declined with the mining industry between 1930-1970. In 1971, the Arizona Land and Cattle Company platted one of its properties for land development, forming The Baca Grande, located south of Crestone. This community helped revitalize Crestone, which became the commercial center for Baca Grande residents. Today the Town of Crestone is dedicated to serving as an attractive and vibrant business center, while preserving its historic character and its atmosphere of peace and quiet. Crestone, together with the Baca Grande, is a haven for summer vacationers, hikers and climbers, retirees and spiritual communities. The Baca Grande is a 14,000-acre subdivision situated just outside of the Town of Crestone. Situated on the eastern side of the County in the foothills directly abutting the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, it is under the jurisdiction of the Baca Grande Property Owners Association. As a result of the close relationship between the subdivision and the Town, generic references to "Crestone" or the "Crestone Community" often include the Baca Grande. The Crestone-Baca sub-area has its own Master Plan and sub-area planning commission, so while the Baca is unincorporated, it is not covered under this Plan. Villa Grove/Bonanza Area Villa Grove is an unincorporated community located on Highway 285 in the northern part of the County. It provides tourist-related services for travelers, as well as a hub for the surrounding areas, with the Post Office and other services. Bonanza is an incorporated town that grew up around the mining activities located about 15 miles


Draft – Saguache County Master Plan 2009
west of Villa Grove. The town is struggling with a very small population that can no longer support a town board and related government services. Moffat/ Hooper Area Moffat and Hooper are both incorporated towns located along CO Highway 17. Hooper sits on the Saguache/Alamosa County line and is mostly located in Alamosa County. The hot springs fed Sand Dunes swimming pool is located northeast of town. Moffat has a K-12 school along with other small businesses. The Town of Moffat has incorporated large agricultural areas within its limits. Saguache Area The Town of Saguache was designated the county seat in 1866 when Saguache County was created from the northern part of Costilla County. It is located at the junction of US 285 and CO 114. Its history is significant, and in 2009 4th Street business district was listed on Colorado’s list of most endangered historic places. A revitalization project is underway. The Town of Saguache is surrounded by ranch, agricultural and private lands. Cochetopa /Sargents Area Sargents is an unincorporated community located on Highway 50 at the west base of Monarch Pass. It provides limited services for travelers. There are several subdivisions and 35-acre developments located on the west side of the continental divide, as well as some large ranches. The Cochetopa region is a ranching area that follows Highway 114 northwest toward Gunnison. This area is primarily national forest, and largely undeveloped. Center/La Garita Area Center is an incorporated town that lies partly in Saguache County and partly in Rio Grande County. It has the largest population of the towns in Saguache County. Farms on both sides of the county line surround it, and agricultural processing plants are located here. Center has a commercial district with several shops and services, as well as a County facility building. More information for the various sub-areas can be found at the Saguache County website www.saguachecounty.net, in the Saguache County Visitors Guide and the Saguache County Resource Guide and Business Directory. • • • • • Each area in Saguache County has several different businesses. Listed below are just a sample of the types of businesses in Saguache County. County Museum Inns, motels, and B&Bs General Stores Convenience Stores


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• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Antique and Pottery stores Coffee Houses RV Parks Post Offices Storage Units Churches Banks Airport/landing strips Meat processing facilities Dog grooming Clinics Schools Restaurants News papers Yoga Movie Theaters Dentists County Musuem Tire Stores Terminal Scales Apartments Auto repair parts and services Rental Cabins Liquor Stores Department Stores (Big R) Potato Storage Laundry Fertilizer plants Government facilities Realty Offices Saguache County has so many and so much historical locations such as: Marshall Pass Old Indian Agency Town Site of Iris and several different old mining towns Town of Sargents Alfred Packer figure at the Saguache County Museum Gold, Silver, and Uranium Mining Stock Drives and dipping vats Forts Toll Roads Several Places of Interest/Recreation: San Luis Peak (14er) Dome lakes McDonough Reservoir Needle Creek Reservoir Cochetopa Dome


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• • • • • • • • • • • • Razor Creek Dome Saguache Park Forest Service/BLM Fishing and Hunting Snyder Ranch/DOW Easement Saguache Creek Corridor Easement Water Fowl viewing Town of Sargents Old Cochetopa Pass Pentitente Canyon Wagon Wheel Tracts Indian Paintings


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Land Ownership and Use
Of the 3168 square miles that comprise Saguache County, about 74% are publicly owned, 68.7% federal and 4.7% State. The following table gives the breakdown. Total Acres Federal US Forest Service BLM National Park Service US Fish & Wildlife State State Land Board School Trust Fund CO Div of Wildlife Private

2,027,940 1,394,376 903,736 344,554 89,326 56, 760

83,332 10,222 1,464 538,369

100% 68.7% 47.6 17.3 5.0% 4.6% 4.7%


In terms of classification, the total lands of the County (both public and private) break down as follows:
Residential Acres % of Total 45,297 2.2% AG 121,293 6.0% Range 732,072 36.1% Forest 874,680 43.1% Waste 175,846 8.7% Tundra 65,460 3.2% Wetland 3,154* .6% Water 739 -

* Refers to formal classification – there are many more acres of seasonal wetlands

In short, range, forest and agricultural lands make up over 85% of the County.
In terms of private lands in the unincorporated territory, data from the County Tax Assessor shows the following land classifications: TYPE / USE TOP AGRICULTUAL USE CORNERS - IRRIGATED/NON IRRIGATED MEADOW GRAZE WASTE RESIDENTIAL - VACANT RESIDENTIAL TOTAL Private lands 61,897 18,417 40,979 195,933 175,846 45,297 538,369


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Building on Past Planning Efforts
The original County Master Plan (1974) contained a good historic base upon which a new plan could be built. Interests and concerns that remain current today include: • A strong resident focus on the lifestyle and natural environment that characterize life here. • Recreation oriented subdivisions and land speculation converting acres from agriculture to residential use. • The popularity of thirty-five and forty-acre “ranchettes” pose a continued threat to the old mountain ranches. • While per capita income has risen, Saguache still is one of the poorest counties in the state. • The desire to attract “value-added” manufacturing enterprises to utilize farm products locally. The philosophy in 1974 for planning and land use regulation in Saguache County was developed and based on the following ideas: 1. Landownership in a free society carries with it certain inherent rights and responsibilities. Landowners have a right to use their property in a manner which does not cause harm to adjacent lands or the general public. Therefore, land use policies and regulations should be developed only to the extent necessary to prevent harm or interference with the rights and freedoms of residents of Saguache County. 2. Planning and land use regulation is a democratic process. Therefore, land use decisions and policy making should be carried out in a transparent manner and with great integrity. Citizen input should be actively sought in reviewing or adopting plans, policies, and regulations. 3. The impacts of land use often extend across jurisdictional borders. Therefore, intergovernmental and regional cooperation in planning and land use regulation should be encouraged. While today, residents’ expressed concerns indicate more tolerance for regulation in order to preserve environmental quality and open space, increase the quality of our buildings.

Summary of Public Involvement
As this Plan update has been underway for some years, there have been numerous rounds of community inputs, including a survey in 2000, community forums in all areas of the County in 2005, a facilitated public process in 2006, as well as the most recent process which began in January of 2008. The Core Values developed by the 2006 process are summarized on the following 2 pages:


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Draft – Saguache County Master Plan 2009


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The 2008 Public Process
As stated above Saguache County has hosted several public forums in recent years aimed at getting meaningful inputs from County residents. Fundamental to the development of the Master Plan was a series of land use concepts derived from the keypad polling process. Guiding concepts that were expressed during past forums were reaffirmed during this meeting. They included: • • • • • • • • • Efficient Growth Pattern & Service Provision An Intentional Future / Manage Growth (max. benefit w/ min negative impacts) Sustainable Growth (clustered)/Good Stewardship Protect Scenic & Historic Resources Plan for Adequate Income-Generating activities Enhance Recreation / Tourism opportunities Protect Critical Natural Resources / Environmental & Habitat Protection/ Scenic Vistas Respect Existing Agriculture and its Heritage Protect our “unique, sacred and revered places”

Master Rate of Growth A community’s perception of the rate of growth is a cornerstone of how the County perceives its past and plans for its future. As shown below, nearly 60% of respondents felt that growth was either “about right” or “slow”. This finding is important from the perspective of ensuring that future growth should be sustainable and provide needed attributes to the community.

How would you rate County growth over the past 5 years?

Too Slow 20.40% Slow 9% About Right 23.90% Fast 35.80% Too Fast 25.40%


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Future Growth Next the participants were asked a series of questions regarding future growth in the County. When asked specifically what measures should the County take as change occurs in the future, over 85% of residents supported the orderly expansion of the community, with only 10% supporting slowing the rate of growth through policy intervention. SAGUACHE COUNTY IS LIKELY TO CHANGE OVER THE NEXT DECADE. DO YOU THINK SAGUACHE COUNTY SHOULD TAKE MEASURES TO:



Slow Growth Accommodate new residents Stay out of growth


Future Level of Service Level of Service represents the relative perception of the community regarding how efficient public services such as fire, police, and ambulance are at their current rate. An important finding of the key pad polling was that residents strongly support that future development do not degrade existing levels of service, and support the notion that future growth should pay its own way by addressing and mitigating impacts to public services.


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If future development results in a reduced level of service to existing residents, would you support it?

Yes 15.90% No 84.10%

Open Space and Environmental Ethos Saguache County and the entire San Luis Valley are located in one the most captivating landscapes in the country - a jewel of the Mountain West. The County has a rich history of agricultural production and is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. For example, over 97% of respondents felt that as growth occurs, the County should be an active participant in the preservation and protection of open space. Environmental degradation and the loss of agriculture and open space are primary concerns of those living in the County.

As the County grows, should it be active in protecting critical open space?

Yes 97.10 No 2.90

Opportunities for the Future
The residents of Saguache County see the viability and opportunities that future well-thought out growth can bring to the San Luis Valley, and that economic


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development and job creation can be facilitated without compromising environmental protection and open space preservation, which are considered paramount to residents. Both must constitute key components of the Future Land Use Map.



3% 9% 3% 1% 11%
Strengthen Enhance Preserve AG Provide Expand Encourage Attract Adopt  Preserve Open Space

34% 11% 3%

Provide Economic Dev.

Establishment and Refinement of Goals, Policies and Strategies
The establishment of goals, policies and strategies are used in this context to articulate an ideal future situation. For a plan to have integrity, goals must accurately reflect the stated values of the citizens of Saguache County. Goals are considered a desired condition for the future and strategies are specific ways to obtain these goals. The establishment of goals provides the basis for determining alternative land use scenarios and code modifications as necessary.


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Section III: Framework: Planning for Sustainability
What is Sustainability?
Over 20 years ago (1987), the United Nations’ World Commission on Environment and Development released a report, “Our Common Future,” which brought the term sustainability into widespread use. In defining sustainability, the United Nations’ World Commission offered these five key concepts: • • • • • The needs of the future must not be sacrificed to the demands of the present. Humanity’s economic future is linked to the integrity of natural systems. The present world system is not sustainable because it is not meeting the needs of many, especially the poor. Protecting the environment is impossible unless we improve the economic prospects of the Earth’s poorest peoples. We must act to preserve as many options as possible for future generations, since they have the right to determine their own needs for themselves.

Sustainability is also referred to as taking a whole systems approach that successfully aligns environmental, economic and social equity concerns in a manner that results in multiple benefits. In the long run, sustainability means adapting human activities to the constraints and opportunities of nature, while meeting the needs of both the present and the future. The American Planning Association has identified the following four objectives in planning for sustainability: 1. Reduce dependence upon fossil fuels, extracted underground metals and minerals. 2. Reduce dependence on chemicals and other manufactured substances that can accumulate in Nature. 3. Reduce dependence on activities that harm life-sustaining ecosystems. 4. Meet the hierarchy of present and future human needs fairly and efficiently. In summary, for the purposes of this Master Plan, sustainability is defined as aligning our built environment and socio-economic activities with both the natural systems that support life and citizens expressed core values. Why plan sustainable communities? Two current trends that demonstrate the need for planning healthy, safe, and sustainable communities are the increasing impact of greenhouse gases on the world’s climate, and the decreasing supply of resources that support life. Nearly our entire built environment is now powered by fossil fuels, which creates the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. The increasingly manifest consequences of global warming highlight the need to reduce the use of fossil fuels.


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Current research on ecological sustainability increasingly indicates that the worldwide use of resources is exceeding the Earth’s capacity for renewal. In the past 30 years, human demand on natural resources has increased 50 percent while the ability of natural systems to renew themselves has declined 30 percent (Living Planet Report, 2000). Clearly if the developed and rapidly developing countries continue current consumption and development habits, there will soon be nothing left to plan for. The Challenge One of the toughest challenges for humans is to recognize the gaps between what we say we value and want, and what our activities are actually creating. With the adoption of this plan, Saguache County residents are making a commitment to sustainable growth, even if it means moving away from historically acceptable and, for some, personally desirable practices While we surely want to maintain our agricultural heritage – we are aware that this is one reason we have so much open space - we acknowledge also residents expressed desire for a more diverse economic base and the inevitable development of at least some percentage of the County’s abundant solar resources. We want to support and promote sustainable agriculture, and at the same time do a Master assessment of our land use patterns and planning for development that moves beyond “agriculture only”. Guiding Principles Planning for sustainability is an overarching theme of the Saguache County Master Plan. Saguache County government is committed to leading by example, promoting public participation, and to intergovernmental and community partnerships that protect the natural systems that support life and improve our quality of life. To design a sustainable future, we will strive to: 1. Improve the vitality of our communities, economy, and environment by seeking developments that provide multiple benefits. 2. Support energy conservation and efficiency and promote the use of renewable resources while optimizing use of water and all finite resources. 3. Steward our natural and agricultural assets responsibly. 4. Reduce the use and minimize the release of hazardous materials. 5. Increase affordable, well-designed, energy-efficient, and diverse housing choices close to job centers and shopping. 6. Foster businesses that create economic, environmental, and social benefits in alignment with our values. 7. Educate and prepare our workforce and residents, making high-quality education, workforce preparation, and lifelong learning opportunities available to all residents of the county. 8. As they become feasible, participate in regional transportation efforts aimed at improving efficiency and reducing our dependence on single-occupancy vehicles. 9. Respect ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic diversity.


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10. Support public health, safety, and social justice. The Saguache County Master Plan is intended to reflect and further elaborate on these guiding principles.

Elements of Smart Growth
Interestingly, the current, widely-accepted parameters of “Smart Growth” reflect much of what Saguache County residents have been saying all along. The elements of Smart Growth are geared to creating livable communities that meet the needs of people while using less land and energy resources and preserving open space, agricultural land, scenic beauty and habitat for wildlife. These include: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Mix land uses Take advantage of compact building design Create a range of housing opportunities and choices Create walkable neighborhoods, where appropriate Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas 7. Strengthen and direct development towards existing communities 8. Provide a variety of transportation choices 9. Make development decisions predictable, fair and cost effective 10. Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions Recognizing that the resource intensive development models of the last 60 years are not sustainable, the Saguache County Planning Commission embraces Smart Growth concepts. As this Master Plan only covers the unincorporated areas of the County, we strongly encourage each municipality within the County also to embrace these principles, in order to ensure a coordinated, harmonious and sustainable development throughout the County. It will be up to the local planning bodies to determine how growth will occur within the boundaries of local municipalities. This plan aims to establish land use policies that will interface effectively with local plans, as well as establish parameters for growth and development throughout the County that are consistent with our overarching goal of sustainability.


Draft – Saguache County Master Plan 2009 SECTION IV – NATURAL ELEMENTS

Saguache County is comprised of high altitude, semi-arid valleys and surrounding mountainous alpine environments. It is essentially public and agricultural land. Nearly all of the activities that take place here are land based - ranching, farming, mining, logging, recreation and retreat - with just enough residential and less than enough commercial to support these. Most commercial exchanges of County residents take place in the counties to the north and south and west (Chaffee, Alamosa, Rio Grande, Gunnison) or by order and delivery. There is little industrial development. Using available Geographic Information System (GIS) data from a variety of sources, a Master “mapping atlas” of the County was prepared. These maps are both scattered throughout and attached as an appendix to this Plan. In addition, the County has extensive maps detailing its “1041 designated areas” – Areas and Activities of State Interest. These areas were designated by the state in the 1970s, and have recently been updated and computerized, which will greatly assist the Planning Commission in its current efforts to designate appropriate areas for development.


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Agricultural Land
The existence of large areas of “Prime Farmland” are shown on the map below. The concept favored by the Plan is that individual land owners have both the ability to develop their property consistent with designated planning areas, remain in agricultural production or protect their land from incompatible developments.

Ranching and farming are the primary economic activity in the County. The following table summarizes the County’s commercial agricultural production for 2008 from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Other commodities such as carrots, lettuce and spinach are also raised on a commercial scale, but no USDA data was available on these.


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Commodity Wheat (Spring) Barley Hay (all) Potatoes

Practice Irrigated Irrigated Irrigated Not reported

Planted All Harvested Purposes 11,900 11,000 acres acres 15,800 acres 12,500 acres

Yield per Acre 94.5 bushel 128 bushel

Production 1,040,000 bushel 1,600,000 bushel 128,000 tons

65,300 1.96 tons (dry) acres 15,300 acres

15,200 345 5,215,000 acres hundredweight hundredweight

Recorded USDA data for 2009 indicates there are 18,500 cattle and calves in the County. No data was available for other livestock, nor the amount of beef produced. It should be noted that nearly all of the crops produced in the county are irrigated.

Everson Ranch – protected by the Orient Land Trust


Draft – Saguache County Master Plan 2009 Water
The majority of Saguache County derives its water from the Rio Grande Basin. The portion of the county west of the Continental Divide is part of the Upper Gunnison Basin and its waters are tributaries to the Colorado River. A small portion in the North is part of the Arkansas River Basin. The Rio Grande is the largest river in the area and has perennial flow through most of its length in Colorado and New Mexico. The river flows across the broad basin-fill deposits in the San Luis Valley in Colorado and then flows through about 100 miles of deep canyon and small intermountain basins in northern New Mexico. South of Santa Fe, N.M., the river flows through a series of broad basins and narrow valleys to the State line in southern New Mexico. The Rio Grande Compact represents a highly negotiated agreement involving a complex set of measurements to determine the amount of Rio Grande water that will be “delivered” to New Mexico and Texas. The Colorado River west of the Divide flows through Utah, Nevada and California before reaching Mexico, and its flows are subject to a separate compact. It would not be an exaggeration to say that had it not been for these compacts, wars would be fought over water in this part of the country. Most basins along the Rio Grande have surface drainage to the river and are topographically open basins. The northern end of the San Luis Valley and most other basins distant from the river have internal surface-water drainage and are topographically closed basins that generally do not contribute stream flow to the Rio Grande or its tributaries. Much of the stream flow in the more mountainous northern part of the Rio Grande is derived from snowmelt runoff in the mountains. Stream flow in the southern part of the river system is derived from upstream flow, ground-water discharge, and runoff from summer thunderstorms. Larger quantities of recharge generally occur along the higher mountains in the northern parts of the aquifer system. While runoff produces most mountain-front recharge to the aquifer system, in some mountainous areas, thick and extensive layers of volcanic rocks are sufficiently permeable to enable large volumes of water to flow through the rocks and directly recharge the basin-fill aquifers. The San Juan Mountains to the west and the Sangre De Cristo Mountains to the east of the San Luis Valley provide a contrast in this regard. About one-half of the approximately 2,000,000 acre-feet per year flow of water that enters the San Luis Valley from the San Juan Mountains is through bedrock aquifers in extensive layers of volcanic rocks that extend from the mountains into the basin fill. The much smaller drainage area of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains is underlain by relatively impermeable sedimentary and crystalline rocks and yields only about 250,000 acre-feet per year of water to the valley. Almost all this water is stream flow. Discontinuous clay layers divide the aquifer underlying parts of the County into 2 sections: the “unconfined” aquifer above and the confined aquifer below. Since the study of the unconfined aquifer began in 1976, a cumulative loss of more than one


Draft – Saguache County Master Plan 2009
million acre-feet has been measured, with a large portion of that recorded after the devastating drought reached its apex in 20021. While the water provided by annual Colorado stream flows is ample, the seasonal nature of the flow is not consistent with the demand by Colorado citizens for domestic, agriculture and industry uses. Nearly 2/3 of the annual water flow (measured in acre feet of water) occurs during the late spring/early summer runoff. During the winter months of December, January and February only 3% of annual flows occur. Presently, Colorado reservoirs store the spring runoff from mountain snowpack for use in the late summer and low flow winter months. This "reserved" water is stored for use throughout the year by downstream users. A factor sometimes overlooked when assessing the adequacy of rainfall in terms of water supply is evaporation. In the San Luis Valley the average rate of pan evaporation during a (summer) month may be as much as 10 times more than the average rate of precipitation for the month. The rate of evaporation is so large due to high summer temperatures, low relative humidity, abundant sunshine, and frequent wind2. Water loss to evaporation has an important effect on ground-water quality in areas of irrigated agriculture, near playas, and other areas of shallow water table. Evaporation removes water from the aquifer or the soil but does not remove the minerals that formerly were dissolved in the water. These minerals can accumulate in the soil to form alkali deposits or salt flats or can be flushed from the soil by infiltration of precipitation or irrigation water. Additional dissolved solids carried into the aquifer from such surface sources can form a zone of degraded ground-water quality at the top of the aquifer. Water Rights The legal right to divert and use water in Colorado has been deliberated and defined from before the time of statehood in 1876. Article 16 of the Colorado constitution defines the water doctrine known as "prior appropriation", which has stood the test of time as Colorado developed from a frontier western state to the modern era of the late 20th century. Since 1876, the constitution and subsequent water court rulings have governed the use, diversion and storage of water in Colorado. "Prior appropriation shall give the better right as between those using the water for the same purpose...." is a Colorado constitutional excerpt that is the basis for the first in use, first in right doctrine of water appropriation. This Colorado water doctrine has become one of the legal foundations upon which water is governed, managed and distributed in Colorado. The appropriation doctrine envelops several interrelated concepts. The two major concepts are: 1) a water right is a right to the use of the water; the right is acquired by appropriation; and 2) an appropriation is the act of diverting water from its source and applying it to a beneficial use. The State Engineer's office in Colorado maintains records on water usage, diversions and stream flows. Presently the state is divided into 7 water divisions, with 80 districts. The San Luis Valley portion of the County is in Division 3, the far western portion is in Division 4 and the Northeast corner is in Division 5 and District 28
1 2

Colorado Division of Water Resources USGS Groundwater Atlas of the U.S., HA 730_C


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covers Tomichi Creek area and Saguache County portions of the Cochetopa area. Colorado's water is administered according to the Colorado doctrine of prior appropriation, state law, water court decrees and interstate compacts. As part of the Department of Natural Resources, the Division of Water Resources provides specific services to citizens of the state including administration of laws in accordance with court decrees and state legislation. The DWR has drafted new rules that are expected to be adopted later this year that will markedly change the use of well water for irrigated agriculture3. The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) was created in 1937 for the purpose of aiding in the protection and development of the waters of the state. The agency is responsible for water project planning and finance, stream and lake protection, flood hazard identification and mitigation, weather modification, river restoration, water conservation and drought planning, water information, and water supply protection. There is a district for each major river basin. Operative within the County are the Rio Grande, Colorado, Upper Gunnison and Upper Arkansas Water Conservation Districts. Rio Grande and Gunnison Basin waters in the State of Colorado are currently overallocated, with projected shortfalls of hundreds of thousands of acre feet by the year 2030. Current agricultural practices in terms of water are not sustainable*. Tens of thousands of acres of irrigated land need to be taken out of production in order to make up the deficit, and to ensure our obligations under various water compacts are met. The new DWR rules which are expected to be adopted later this year will reclassify use of well water for irrigation as a junior right. This will cause a significant shift in agriculture, as in the 60’s and 70’s, with the advent of center pivot sprinklers, many farmers got well permits for the center of the (quarter) section and have been using groundwater, as opposed to or in conjunction with ditch water, for irrigation. Region 3 DWR staff estimates that of the 600,000 irrigated acres in the Valley, about 25% use solely ditch water, 20% use solely well water and 55% use a combination. The economy of Saguache County (and in fact the entire San Luis Valley) is highly dependent on irrigated agriculture. The DWR says it has been talking to farmers for several years about the impending regulatory changes, and wants farmers directly involved in getting well water use under control. The Division is encouraging farmers to set up sub-districts in order that farmers can pool efforts and gather the resources needed to set up augmentation plans and acquire the necessary water. Landowners in the area south of Saguache Creek, as well as Villa Grove and Saguache are currently in the process of creating sub-districts. The San Luis Valley Water Conservation District has secured a transbasin augmentation source, but this won’t reach beyond Center according to the DWR Region 3 Director, who sees challenges ahead for other sub-districts securing adequate augmentation. Clearly the issue of water must be in the forefront of County development decisions.
3 *

Interview with DWR Region 3 Director For example, it takes 2 to 3 acre feet of water to produce an acre of alfalfa


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Saguache County is home to a myriad of wildlife, including elk, coyote, black bear, bald and golden eagles, lynx, pronghorn, mule deer, mountain lion, wolverine, ferret, mountain goat, fox, big horn sheep, Gunnison sage grouse, moose, badger, raccoons, weasels, geese, snakes, owls, ptarmigan, peregrine and many other birds. The County is nearly 75% public land, including national forest, wildlife refuge, national park, wilderness, BLM and state land. There is significant riparian avian habitat in both permanent and seasonal wetlands. Maps of the various habitat areas for many of the species listed are included in the atlas that accompanies this Plan. Habitat, migration corridors and breeding grounds/seasons are all factors affecting the what, where and when of construction activities in the County.

Threatened or Endangered Species
The County is home to a number of animal species that are listed as threatened, endangered or of special concern by the Colorado Division of Wildlife and/or the US Fish & Wildlife Service. The table below displays these species and their status:

Black-Footed Ferret Lynx Southwestern Willow Flycatcher Wolverine Rio Grande Sucker (fish) Bald Eagle Mexican Spotted Owl American Peregrine Falcon Gunnison Sage Grouse Mountain Plover Rio Grande Chubb Rio Grande Cutthroat

Federal and State Endangered State Endangered/ Federal Threatened Federal and State Endangered State Endangered State Endangered State Threatened Federal – Threatened State – Species of Special Concern “ “ “ “

Colorado Divisions of Wildlife, 10/15/07. US Fish & Wildlife Service, Colorado Office, 8/16/04.

Wetlands are defined as “lands transitional between terrestrial and aquatic systems where the water table is usually at or near the surface or the land is covered by shallow water”4. Wetlands cover only about 1.5 percent of Colorado (1 million acres) and are of high ecological and economic value5. Wetlands provide an array of ecological goods and services which include: 1) habitat for rare hydric plants and wildlife, 2) water quality improvements through retention of sediments and nutrients, 3) flood attenuation, 4) bank stabilization, 5) biochemical cycling


Classification of Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats of the United States (Cowardin et al. 1979) US Geological Survey, 1996



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(nitrogen, phosphorus, carbon, etc.) and 6) a source of recreation, timber, and other natural products for commercial use.

Although valuable, 50% of all Colorado wetlands have been converted and/or drained over the last two centuries. Development activities in Colorado wetlands are now regulated by Federal statutory prohibitions and State oversight. Federal law has established "no net loss policy" for wetlands authorized by the Clean Water Act. The goal of the Clean Water Act to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation's surface waters includes wetlands. In an effort to curb degradation of wetlands, Section 401 requires water quality certification by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for any project affecting wetlands and Section 404 requires a developer to obtain a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in order to develop in wetlands. The Corps will generally grant a permit if three sequential conditions are met by an applicant: 1) all practical steps to avoid adverse impacts to wetlands are taken 2) all unavoidable damage to wetlands is minimized and 3) permanent destruction of wetlands is mitigated by creating a new wetland or by restoring a degraded one (usually in the same watershed). According to the USACE and US Environmental Protection Agency, compensatory mitigation attempts to provide “no net loss” of wetlands. Thus, if development occurs in Colorado wetlands requiring draining and/or degradation of natural wetlands than the developer will be required to fully mitigate for the damage occurring to the natural wetlands.


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Conservation Areas
The Colorado Natural Heritage Program is a natural resource research program funded and hosted by Colorado State University. The CNHP conducted an inventory of the Closed Basin portion of the County in order to ascertain which are the most biologically important areas in terms of maintaining biodiversity6. As a result they proposed 45 conservation sites which include all of the elements of concern found in this part of Saguache County. The sites are classified in order of their biological or conservation significance, i.e. a site with a B1 biodiversity rank is the most irreplaceable and in need of permanent protection, while a site with a B5 biodiversity rank is of general significance. Overall, of the 45 proposed conservation sites, one was ranked as outstanding (B1), 13 very significant (B2), 17 significant (B3), 10 moderate (B4) and 4 of general biodiversity significance (B5). Of the 45 proposed conservation sites wholly or parted contained within the County, several stand out as extremely significant. Foremost is the Great Sand Dunes. This site has been given the highest biodiversity rank of B1, placing it as one of the most important conservation sites in Colorado. The playa lakes landscape is also a very important area, with four sites delineated, three very significant: Russell, Mishak, and San Luis Lakes/Sand Creek. The playa lake landscape is important for abundant nesting and migratory birds, plants, and plant communities. Russell Lakes harbors one of the world’s largest known populations of the globally rare slender spiderflower.

Geologic features/hazards and topographic
The Rio Grande Rift is the principal geologic feature of the area. The rift affected the configuration of the highlands that boundary of the San Luis Valley, which in turn has affected precipitation, runoff, groundwater recharge, source material of the basin fill, aquifer characteristics, and water quality. The rift is a northwardtrending series of interconnected, down faulted and rotated blocks located between uplifted blocks to the east and west. There are 4 fault lines that run approximately N-NW through or into the County from the south. These are shown on a map in the attached atlas. Various blocks have been displaced downward thousands of feet, and most of the rift has been filled with alluvium and volcanic rocks (basin fill). The thickness of the basin fill is unknown in most areas but is estimated to be as much as 30,000 feet in the San Luis Valley. Total vertical displacement across some faults that border the rift exceeds 20,000 feet from the crest of the nearby mountains to the top of the equivalent rocks in the rift. Most basins of the rift are bounded on the north and west by Tertiary and Quaternary volcanic rocks. Igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks of Precambrian, Paleozoic, and Mesozoic ages form the eastern boundary of most basins.


Saguache County, Closed Basin Biological Inventory Volume I: A Natural Heritage Assessment Final Report, 1998


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Most of the bedrock formations that bound the basin are relatively impermeable. Although some volcanic rocks, solution-altered carbonate rocks, or extensively fractured beds can yield water in local areas, the bedrock as a whole has minimal permeability and is considered to form an impermeable base to the Rio Grande aquifer system.

Steep Slope and Ridgeline Development
Development on hillsides and steep slopes poses a high risk of erosion and an increased risk of landslides both during and after construction. Sedimentation resulting from erosion can be particularly detrimental to stream water quality and wildlife. The roads needed to access steep slope development are also problematic and are expensive to maintain. Failure to regulate development on steep slopes can result in degradation of water quality, endangerment of public safety and welfare through the increased likelihood of landslides and excessive road maintenance costs. Development on windward slopes is also particularly vulnerable to wildfire hazards. While the current LDC asks developers to identify any geologic hazards, assure soil suitability, etc., no standards are delineated for building on slopes, although there are standards for any road that the County will be expected to maintain. Also, there has been concern expressed by residents over the years about protecting skylines and ridgelines from development, so that the visual imposition of development is minimized and the natural lines sculpted by nature are maintained.

Wildfire represents the most likely to occur significant hazard in the County. The areas of most concern vis-à-vis risks to human life and property are known as wildland-urban interface (WUI) zones. There is only one WUI identified as a “Red Zone” (high risk) area by the State Forest Service, and that is the area surrounding the Town of Saguache, however the east side of the County is also especially at risk for wildfire. Wildfire hazard areas are also identified on the County’s 1041 (areas of state interest) maps. As fire does not recognize jurisdictional boundaries, the County has intergovernmental agreements with federal and state land managers in the event that a fire event encompasses both public and private lands. The County last year completed a Community Wildfire Protection Plan for the western side of the County which contained a Master risk assessment and a number of recommendations to mitigate potential losses. In addition, the County Emergency Manager disseminates information to property owners County-wide on precautionary methods to reduce fire risks, as well as ensuring ongoing training for the County’s fire fighters.

Night Sky Preservation
According to resident surveys, the brilliant clarity of the night sky here is one of the most consistently and reverently valued features of County life. The current Land Development Code contains provisions for any necessary lighting to be shielded and


Draft – Saguache County Master Plan 2009
directed downward. When we consider what kind of development we would like to attract, an irrefutable preference exists for activities that do not “light up the night”. GOAL Protect important natural resources of Saguache County, including water (quantity and quality), air, soils, wildlife habitats and corridors, prime agricultural lands, open space, scenic vistas and recreational areas.

Policy Pursue measures aimed at protecting and improving the environmental quality and resources of the County. Strategies
Update all County maps to ensure inclusion and detailing of all lands within the County, with special attention to those areas west of the Continental Divide. Ensure that all applicable standards (local, state and federal) are applied to existing and future industrial development. Complete a County Flood Plan to reduce potential property losses. Actively monitor development, water rights and other activities that may affect the County’s water resources. Protect sensitive areas like prime agricultural land, riparian areas, wetlands and wildlife habitat as the County grows. Create policies to control the types of businesses allowed in various areas. Promote educational programs regarding water conservation measures for residential, agricultural and commercial land uses (sprinklers, EPA shower reduction devices, low-flow toilet rebates, low water demand landscaping, etc). Encourage future park and green space areas to use non-potable irrigation sources. Amend the Land Development Code to adopt standards for development on slopes and to restrict ridgeline and skyline developments. Develop and implement a plan for protecting the B1, B2 & B3 conservation sites profiled in the Colorado Natural Heritage Program’s Closed Basin Inventory study. Prepare a Community Wildfire Protection Plan for eastern Saguache County


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GOAL Encourage environmentally sound methods of using and disposing of solid and hazardous waste. Policy Develop programs that educate and encourage residents to reduce, reuse and recycle. Strategies Advertise existing drop-off locations for recyclables and pursue options for increasing recycling. Educate residents about ways to reduce, reuse and recycle their solid waste. Encourage composting and mulching of “green” yard waste in cooperation with the CSU Extension Service. Monitor waste management practices of mining and agricultural sites Support and expand the County’s efforts to provide information to residents which explain the proper use and disposal of common household hazardous waste. Goals and strategies related to the reduction of fossil fuel use appear in subsequent sections of the Plan.

Chapter 1: Patterns of Development of the Built Environment
If we are going to fulfill our commitment to plan for sustainability and to County residents’ call for the protection of agricultural land, open space and wildlife habitat, we need to consider development patterns. Where do we want growth to occur? Are there lands that need to be protected? What are they and how can we go about it? Ironically, the personal tendencies that make people want to move to the “wide open spaces of the American West” – for example the desire to have no neighbors within sight - are some of the same that are threatening its existence. In a 2006 report, the Environment Colorado Policy and Research Center said that between 1960 and 1990, the land area developed into exurban homes and rural ranchettes grew three times faster than the population growth rate. A primary reason for this is that State law exempts parcels of 35 acres or more from County subdivision regulations (CRS 30-28-101(10)(b). Absent other regulatory tools, this exemption can impair both the ability of counties to provide and pay for services and their ability to manage land use within the county. Two million acres of agricultural land in Colorado was lost in tracts sized just big enough to avoid subdivision regulation (35 acres) from 1972 to


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20007. The proliferation of thirty five acre+ “ranchettes” has long been an expressed concern of Saguache County residents.

Everson Ranch – protected by the Orient Land Trust

photo: John Lorenz

Farming and ranching are the primary economic activities of the County. Ranches in particular require large amounts of land to sustain livestock in an arid climate. According to the American Farmland Trust (AFT), shifting demographics, sprawling development and rising land prices all affect the viability of farming and ranching in the Rocky Mountain region, where more than 350 acres of agricultural land are converted to development every day. Eleven percent of Rocky Mountain ranchland is vulnerable to conversion by 20208. Research indicates that rural sprawl has 5 to 10 times the “ecological footprint” (natural resources consumed) of suburban or urban land use patterns. The economic ramifications of this type of development are also well documented. Costs associated with rural sprawl include the cost of building and maintaining roads and providing emergency services. For every tax dollar they bring in, large lot rural developments in Colorado represent $1.65 in infrastructure costs7. A 2001 Saguache County study9 demonstrated that residential development costs the County more than it generates in revenue, and while these expenditures are, in most places, covered by revenues generated by commercial development, in this County it is agriculture that is subsidizing the cost of residential development.

7 7

“Losing Ground: Colorado’s Vanishing Agricultural Landscape, March 2006 Rocky Mountain Agricultural Landowners Guide to Conservation and Sustainability, 2006 8 A Revenue/Cost Analysis of Community Service Provision in Saguache County, Colorado, Sept 2001


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Occasionally, 35-acre lots are developed in areas that are completely inaccessible to fire protection. While the County does inform prospective residents wanting to settle in remote locations that emergency (fire, ambulance) and road services can not be promptly provided, this does not realistically eliminate the need to provide them. The 2004 Picnic Rock fire (north of Ft Collins) provides a sobering example.10 In addition to encouraging Right to Farm regulations, which Saguache County already has in place, the AFT Guide describes several opportunities that landowners have to reap financial benefits from their land while protecting and maintaining ownership of it. These include federal initiatives such as Farm and Ranchland Protection, Forest Legacy and Grassland Reserve programs; and private options such as agricultural conservation easements, estate planning and land trusts. The State of Colorado has a program that allows a tax credit to be taken against state income taxes by an individual or entity donating a conservation easement. The State also created the Great Outdoors Colorado Open Space Grant Program (GOCO), which awards competitive grants for projects that protect and enhance Colorado wildlife, parks, rivers, trails, open spaces and agricultural land.

Started by a 35-acre lot landowner burning trash on his property without a permit, this fire destroyed more than 9,000 acres of wildlands, 2 structures and caused numerous evacuations. It required 444 firefighting staff and 12 aircraft to contain and extinguish. The total cost of the fire was approximately $2.3 million, of which the county’s share was around $100,000. Re-vegetation of the burned area will take many years.



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As can be seen from these two charts, 6% of the existing houses in the County consume over 63% of the residential land. On the other end of the spectrum, over two thirds of County dwellings occupy less than 5% of the land devoted to residential development

Finally, County residents have also expressed a strong interest in preserving “viewsheds” and the scenic vistas that so characterize one’s experience of the County. Ensuring that these are protected will require some setbacks and design guidelines along selected sections of County roadways.


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Planning Options The Saguache County Planning Commission is permitted authorized under CRS 3028-111 to adopt a zoning plan, as follows:

“The county planning commission of any county may . . . make a zoning plan for zoning all or any part of the unincorporated territory within such county . . . for the regulation by districts or zones of the location, height, bulk, and size of buildings and other structures, percentage of lot which may be occupied, the size of lots, courts, and other open spaces, the density and distribution of population, the location and use of buildings and structures for trade, industry, residence, recreation, public activities, or other purposes, access to sunlight for solar energy devices, and the uses of land for trade, industry, recreation, or other purposes.”
Currently, the unincorporated lands of Saguache County are all zoned agricultural. The Land Development Code lists permitted uses for the zone, and other uses that can be permitted conditionally. The County has also adopted what are known as 1041 Regulations that can be applied to Areas and Activities of State Interest, as defined by State statute (CRS 24-65.1-101). If land being subdivided into 35-acre lots is in an area designated pursuant to 1041 powers, the county may require compliance with its 1041 regulations. The 21 categories defined as areas or activities of state interest include: geological, flood and wildfire hazard areas, historical and archeological resource areas, and significant wildlife habitats. A local government can designate specific areas within which to employ its 1041 powers. These are: • • • • Mineral resource areas Natural hazard areas Areas containing, or having a significant impact upon, historical, natural, or archaeological resources of statewide importance; and Areas around key facilities11 in which development may have a material effect upon the key facility or the surrounding community.

Given the dual priority interests of County residents for both preservation of rural character and protection of open space and for economic development, and the recent targeting of the San Luis Valley for industrial scale solar development, it may be timely for the Planning Commission to work out and adopt a zoning plan aimed at maximizing mutual benefits of all stakeholders. The State Department of Local Affairs has produced a model Land Use Code that could serve as a resource for defining and setting parameters for other types of zones.

Accommodate compatible growth while preserving agricultural and range land, open space and wildlife habitat.


Airports, major facilities of a public utility, interchanges, mass transit facilities


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Encourage development that optimizes the use of existing infrastructure and conserves and protects natural resources.
Strategies Collaborate with municipalities to identify urban growth areas within or adjacent to municipal boundaries. Ask the Board of County Commissioners to work with state lawmakers to amend State subdivision laws to enable County review of all subdivisions. Create an accessible information resource for landowners that highlight the different programs and options available to assist them in reaping financial benefit from their land while maintaining ownership and providing natural resource protections. Amend the County LDC to stipulate that only dwellings associated with farms and ranches are a permitted use in the agricultural zone. Other dwellings would require a conditional use review. Review the adequacy of 1041 designated areas, and make adjustments as necessary. Initiate a site review process to assist landowners in choosing the best location on their land for development to avoid natural hazards (flood, wildfire, erosion) and address emergency response parameters. Initiate a rural road construction permit for any road accessing a County maintained road. Adopt setbacks and site design guidelines in selected areas to enhance and protect the aesthetic quality of community gateways and other high visibility corridors. Create specific planning areas for high density residential, commercial, mixed use and industrial developments with an eye to making productive use of currently non-productive land, optimizing existing infrastructure and protecting open space, wildlife habitat and agricultural and rangeland. Policy Encourage greater density residential development to preserve agricultural lands and open space and to help make housing more affordable. Strategies Encourage the preservation, renovation and creation of housing in existing neighborhoods.


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Review and amend subdivision/PUD regulations to encourage cluster development, infill and developments that optimize use of existing infrastructure. Policy Encourage commercial development in identified zones in order to increase revenue from this sector. Strategies Identify areas where commercial development is desirable. Create incentives for businesses to locate in these zones.

Chapter 2: Energy & Green Building
Energy is essential to every sector of the economy and community, and the design of the built environment determines how much energy is used. How energy is obtained and produced also has major impacts on individual and environmental health. Electricity generation from fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Saguache County encourages the maximum, cost-effective utilization of renewable energy sources into all new development, as well as retrofitting of existing structures and systems. The County acknowledges the considerable energy potential that exists here, and supports the appropriate scale development of renewable energy sources. However given the costs and environmental impacts of any mode of energy development, and in keeping with the premise that the most valuable kilowatt or thermal unit is the one that you don’t need (referred to as “negawatts”), conservation measures must come before, or at least go hand-in-hand with, the development of new energy resources. There are a number of conservation and renewable energy incentive programs that have been initiated at both state and federal levels. These appear as Appendix C to this Plan. Colorado’s Governor’s Energy Office (www.colorado.gov/energy/) provides a wealth of information, programs and partnership opportunities aimed at maximizing the development of the state’s considerable renewable energy potential. Current financing systems do not reflect the fact that while the initial investment in home renewable energy systems are high, the long term benefits far outweigh those costs. By reducing the upfront costs, we can make clean energy more accessible to more residents. The County could create a loan program either by using existing bond potential or by creating improvement districts for investment in renewable energy, which allows homeowners to re-pay the loan as a special assessment on the property tax, generally over 20 years. This also means that if a property is sold, the new owner takes up the repayment responsibility, eliminating the deterrent that a homeowner faces in making a large initial investment, not knowing if it will be recoverable in the event of a sale.


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Investing in energy efficiency, distributed scale renewable energy production, and green building practices will reduce our ecological footprint and our emission contribution to greenhouse gases, increase the reliability of our energy supply, create jobs, and help keep dollars in our local economy. County policies and programs can contribute to a more sustainable energy future by: • • • increasing energy efficiency and conservation prioritizing renewable resources and local production promoting green building design and materials

Other renewable energy opportunities are addressed in the Economic Development section of this Plan. GOAL Increase the energy efficiency of the built environment in Saguache County. Policy Energy efficiency must be a consideration for any new structures and additions to existing structures built in Saguache County. Strategies Create an information and resource manual that informs residents, builders and developers of the long term cost and environmental benefits of energy efficient design and lists suppliers and green building consultants (esp. local). Review existing green building matrices to assess the possibility of adopting some sustainable building design standards for the County. Amend development permit applications to include a description of energy efficient design components and annual projected energy costs for the proposed construction. Research and initiate a County-sponsored loan program (insured by the state) for the installation of renewable energy systems and selected conservation measures that allows property owners to repay the loans as a special assessment on their property taxes over a specified period of years. Create and keep current a resource list for residents that describes all of the programs (federal, state and local) available to assist them in reducing their use of fossil fuels. Ensure that the County is taking maximum advantage of the programs and assistance available through the Governor’s Energy Office.


Draft – Saguache County Master Plan 2009 CHAPTER 3: HOUSING
2007 data from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DoLA) puts the number of housing units in Saguache County at 3756 (1 for every 1.84 people). This number does not include unfinished houses, of which there are a considerable number. According to US Census data, new housing units in Saguache County increased at a rate of 2.8% per year from 2000 - 2007, somewhat faster than the population. This would seem reasonable except that nearly 25% of all residential units in the County were unoccupied in 2000 - a very high vacancy rate - which would indicate that housing supply has continued to outpace demand throughout the period. Nationwide the vacancy rate is 13.8%, and averages only about 12% in the western US. However 2000 data indicates that approximately 45% of vacant houses in the County were owned and retained for recreational or occasional use, reducing the rate of “unintended” vacancies. At that time, 6% of vacant units were categorized as for sale and not available for occupancy. While no hard updated data is available, that number would appear to be higher now. The US Census data leaves over 45% of vacant units uncategorized and unexplained, so no Master picture of housing vacancies is currently available. Just over 69% of occupied housing units are owner-occupied, indicative of the availability of sufficient (though not necessarily affordable) rental units. About half the structures in the County were built before 1980, and half since then (see graph below).

Construction by Decade

Built 1939 or earlier Built 1940-1959 Built 1960-1969 Built 1970-1979 Built 1980-1989 Built 1990-1999 Built 2000 -2007
150 200 250 300 400 500 432 267 484



720 696


700 720


In spite of excess supply, housing has become much less affordable for the majority of County residents over the last decade. An industry standard to understand the affordability of housing is the relationship between median housing prices and median household income (MHI). Using the most recent data available, the MHI for the County in 2007 was $30,19312. The median single family home sales price was

U.S Census data website


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$140,190 (year end 06), as compared to $73,900 in 2000 when the MHI was $25,495. So while income increased 18.4% between 2000 and 2007, the data indicates that the cost of housing increased nearly 90%, which means that home ownership is less affordable for full time residents now than it was just a few years ago. This picture may not be quite as bleak as it looks. The number of home sales in the County is relatively small, so the sale of 2 or 3 high-end vacation homes (of which there are many) can easily skew the averages. The recent economic downturn has halted the escalation of housing prices. We do not have data yet on its effect on incomes. While home ownership may be in reach for more than the small percentage of County residents that the data above indicates, it does not alter the conclusion that it is far less affordable than it was a decade ago. Housing Assistance – Currently there are 15 housing units subsidized under the federal Section 8 program in Saguache and Crestone and 25 in Center. There is also a 12 unit HUD public housing complex in Saguache, and another 16 unit complex that could be Section 8 (only 2 currently are) if the County received more vouchers. For the purposes of Section 8 or other subsidized housing reimbursement, a fair market rent for an area is established. The 2008 figure for fair market rent in Saguache County for a 2 BR unit is $555, including utilities. While this figure may represent the actual market for some parts of the County (e.g. Center), in others (e.g. Crestone-Baca), the cost of a 2BR rental with utilities runs 40% to 80% more than the official FMV rate. This translates into few or no affordable or subsidized rental units in certain areas. This is confirmed by the Center Housing Authority Director, who administers Section 8 for the whole County and indicated that there is a need for about 100 additional subsidized units to meet the true housing needs of Saguache County residents, and that she receives many requests for assistance from the more expensive housing markets. Another problem that the Director reported is that many rental property owners in the lower cost housing markets are not willing or able to maintain their properties to the standard required for Section 8 participation. Both of these issues pose serious obstacles to the availability of decent affordable housing for lower income residents. The standard formula used to determine affordability is 30% of income for either house payment or rent and utilities. Utility costs vary widely, depending on heating fuel source and lifestyle. For the purposes of the exercise, an estimated average year round utility cost of $230/mo. was used, inclusive of heat, electricity and water/sewer. Applying the 30% rule results in only about 25% of the County’s residents being able to afford an average single family home at current market rates, and over half unable to afford to rent. Energy Efficiency The less homes cost to heat, power and maintain, the more affordable they are over time. How to build energy efficient structures has been known for decades and new technologies (as well as modifications to old ones) continue to increase our ability to create healthy, low impact shelter. It is the intent of Saguache County to make a commitment to our future by encouraging the maximum cost effective use of energy conservation tools and technologies.


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Issues Clearly any Master plan needs to embrace the goals of safe, livable environments, high quality, sustainable future development and a housing mix diversified enough to meet the actual needs of the County’s residents. Basic tenets of sustainable development would dictate that the majority of new housing developments would take place within and adjacent to existing development - to a large extent within the incorporated areas, and therefore outside the scope of this Plan. Given the needs of both residents and the environment, the County strongly encourages each municipality to consider both energy efficiency and affordability when creating new or rehabilitating existing units, in order to increase the availability of energy efficient and affordable housing for County residents. Another long-standing issue is getting completed houses on the tax rolls. There has historically been a delay of many years, with the resultant loss of justified and much needed revenue for the County, schools and other special districts. The County Tax Assessor is currently working to correct this deficiency. There is currently a housing needs assessment being conducted for the entire San Luis Valley by the Community Strategies Institute under a contract with the State Division of Housing. The results of this study should provide relevant data to assist us in determining appropriate actions to meet the goal of aligning housing resources with the needs of residents. GOAL Maintain and enhance quality, energy-efficient and affordable residential environments in Saguache County. Policy Increase energy conservation and efficiency of Saguache County residences. Strategy Other relevant strategies appear in the Energy & Green Building section) Identify and maximize use of programs to assist low-income homeowners in making necessary repairs and increasing the energy efficiency of their homes. Policy Support efforts to develop low-income and special needs housing in the County. Strategies Monitor administration of Section 8 housing vouchers to ensure equitable treatment of County residents under that program. All new subdivisions and PUD must include a percentage of affordable units.


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Identify what types of housing are needed in Saguache County and utilize this information when reviewing subdivision and PUD proposals. Effectively participate in the political process to increase the flow of federal and state housing funds to the County. Consider utilizing subdivision design standards and financial incentives to encourage private development of energy-efficient, affordable housing. Policy Ensure that new developments do not create negative impacts on existing development. Strategies Require the use of buffer zones, landscaping, berming and other design techniques to help improve and maintain the integrity of different land uses. Ensure that any new residential development includes all the additional infrastructure and utilities, to prevent adverse impacts of growth to current residents.

Highways Saguache County has one US and three State Highways running through it, two north-south (CO 17 and US 285 and 2 east-west (CO 112 & 114). A segment of US Highway 50 that runs from Salida to Gunnison also dips down into the County from the north. The Colorado Department of Transportation provides a myriad of data associated with state highways, including geometries and surface conditions. Most sections of all State Highways that run through the County are listed as in poor or fair condition by the CDOT. CDOT divides the State into a number of regions for the purposes of transportation planning. The San Luis Valley region (SLV TPR) also includes Chaffee County. A Master plan for this region through the year 2035 was published in January 2008. The planning process uncovered a series of key issues and trends: • • • • System preservation is the primary need The plan should address safety and congestion throughout the region A desire for multi-modal connections has been identified; and Individual corridors of high importance should receive priority attention.

Perhaps the most interesting revelation in the above cited Plan is the extraordinary gap between what is needed and the level of funding that (at that time) was anticipated. While the “Vision Plan” – what it would take to optimally meet the transportation goals and needs of the region - carried a price tag of $2.65 billion between 2008-2035, the amount that was allocated to the region was $25 million for


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the period. It should therefore come as no surprise that no Saguache County sites were on the improvements priority list that resulted from that study.

“the TPR will expect to see little additional major construction work in the near term due to equally important needs elsewhere, unless additional funds are forthcoming. While CDOT will continue to address safety, bridge and resurfacing needs on many of the region’s highways, other major work will have to wait for the funding scenario to improve. As a result, congestion will continue to deteriorate in spot locations on US 160, US 285 and US24 and throughout the TPR. Many of the region’s highways will continue to operate without adequate shoulders providing challenges to the trucking industry and cyclists as well as leaving some safety concerns unaddressed. Surface conditions are expected to deteriorate over time.”
It is noted that with the change of administration a year after this report was published, additional revenues for basic infrastructure improvements may well be anticipated. Already there is one Saguache County project that has been allocated funding received by the state as part of by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the “stimulus package”) passed by Congress in February of this year (2009). This is the resurfacing of 8 miles of Highway 285 south of the Town of Saguache. The estimated cost of the project is $6.7 million. Average Daily Traffic Data As part of the planning process Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) was collected for state highways at specified locations, and the data used to project 2035 counts. The AADT represents the annual average daily traffic count for a given segment (total of all vehicles in a year divided by 365 days). The Figure below displays 2005 data. The number of miles of roadway that carry over 10,000 vehicles a day is projected to increase from 11 (2005) to 39 in 2035, though none of those segments is located in Saguache County.


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Local Roadway The County contains 898 miles of Highway Users Tax eligible roads that are maintained by the County, 498 that are classified as arterial or collector (though some of these are gravel) and 400 that are classified as local roads. There are 202 miles of (non-HUT) roads that are maintained by others and177 miles that are not maintained. Local roadway count data has not been gathered, however the Road and Bridge Department does have the capability to do traffic counts on local roads if needed. Clearly in a large, sparsely populated County with extreme weather conditions, road maintenance will be both an ongoing challenge and a major County expense. Snow removal is performed on all County roads that have inhabitants, with school bus routes having the highest priority. The Road and Bridge Department employs 26 full time equivalent (FTE) positions, and contracts for some snow removal work in remote areas. The 2008 County road budget totaled $2,560,000. This year (2009) the County expects to receive significant additional Federal funding from the Secure Rural Schools Act, which was passed several years ago by the US Congress but never funded. In October 2008 Congress voted to fund the bill through 2011, which


Draft – Saguache County Master Plan 2009
will bring about $2.4 million in additional funds into the County. Pending state legislation will likely determine the percentage of those funds that will go to roads. The additional funds are anticipated to be used for extending pavement in select areas and one time equipment purchases and upgrades. Transit Though the whole idea of transit options appears almost irrelevant in a large, rural and sparsely populated County, there are a number of reasons to address it in this Plan. One is that there are populations who are dependent on transit services - in the 2008 community survey, 86% of respondents said it was important to provide vanpools or other senior transportation services. Another relates to our overarching goal of sustainability - which single occupancy vehicle trips do not reflect. A third is that the recent SLV RTP looked at transit needs and possibilities in some depth. All of the information in the following section is derived from the 2008 SLV RTP carried out for the CDOT. Demand for transit services in rural areas and for the elderly or disabled population has always been hard to estimate. The RTP used the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Project A-3: Rural Transit Demand Estimation Techniques - the first substantial research into the demand for transit service in rural areas and small communities since the early 1980s. The TCRP analysis procedure considers transit demand in two major categories: • • “program demand”, which is generated by transit ridership to and from specific social service programs; and “non-program demand”, which is generated by the other mobility needs of the elderly, disabled, and low-income population, e.g. shopping, employment, and medical trips.

Mobility Gap - Mobility gap refers to the amount of service that would be required in order to provide equal mobility to persons in households without a vehicle as for those in households with a vehicle. It does not reflect actual current demand for transit services. In very abbreviated form, the results of the transit needs assessment for the SLV TPR indicated that: • Approximately 1.6 million annual one-way passenger-trips for the SLV TPR are needed, and • 90 percent of the need is not being met. Current Transit Providers – Fortunately, there are two agencies that currently provide transit services to specific populations in the County. These are: Tri-County Senior Citizens and Housing, Inc.- a private nonprofit agency based in Monte Vista that serves the social, recreational, and housing needs of the elderly in Rio Grande, Saguache, and Mineral Counties. The agency provides demandresponsive, door-to-door transportation for seniors to congregate meal sites, essential daily living activities (medical appointments, shopping, etc.), and social and educational events. Van service is provided four days a week—Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. An extensive schedule of trips from the outlying towns of Creede, South Fork, Saguache, Center, and Crestone to activities in the


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larger towns is provided. Reservations are required and trips are subject to cancellation in the event of an insufficient number of passengers or due to adverse weather conditions. Most suggested donations between the towns are $3.50 per rider. Blue Peaks Development Service, Inc. – is a private nonprofit organization providing services for developmentally disabled persons within the SLV TPR. The agency provides restricted fixed-route and demand-responsive transportation for Blue Peaks clients only. Saguache County is not currently in a position to play a role in providing transit services to County residents. However we should monitor the situation and watch for opportunities to participate in expanded regional initiatives as they arise. Airports

Airports contribute to a region’s mobility and access to services as well as helping to support economic activity. There are 2 airports in the County, the Leach airport near Center
and Saguache Municipal airport. Leach airport is located 4 miles NE of the Town of Center and is used primarily for agricultural purposes. The County owns the airstrip there, but currently has no plans for improvements. The County completed a professional study and plan for the Saguache Municipal airport in June of 200613. GOAL Provide and maintain a roadway network which meets the access needs of the County in a safe, economical, ecological and efficient manner. Strategies Initiate an emphasis on preventive maintenance of County roads. Complete a prioritized needs assessment for County roads. Design and construct County road projects in a manner that minimizes negative impacts to water quality and sensitive environmental areas. Encourage new and expanded partnerships with the State to encourage that the roads within Saguache County are properly maintained. Actively pursue State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) funds through the involvement of both staff and elected officials in the prioritization process. Policy Ensure that new development mitigates its proportional share of impacts on the existing transportation infrastructure.


Saguache Municipal Airport Study, Airport Development Group, Denver, CO, June 2006


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Strategy Ensure that the transportation impacts of new development are integrated into the review and approval process. GOAL Support alternative modes of transportation Strategies Encourage municipalities to designate bicycle lanes and pedestrian pathways in select areas where these would help to facilitate cycling and walking. Consider the provision of separate bicycle-pedestrian paths in the design of future developments, open spaces, drainage ways and railroad beds. Monitor opportunities for participation in regional public transportation services. Policy Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from County vehicles. Strategy Explore feasibility and options for converting the County fleet to bio-diesel. Policy Promote the Saguache County Airport as a community resource. Strategies Continue efforts to increase awareness of and use of the airport. Implement the recommendations outlined in the 2006 airport study.

As well as being a registered historic building, the Saguache County Courthouse, located in the Town of Saguache, houses the administrative offices of the County: Administrator, Clerk, Treasurer, Land Use, Tax Assessor as well as the court. The Sheriff’s office and jail facilities are conveniently located in an adjacent building, and down the street are Social Services, Public Health and Veterans Affairs. There are additional County administrative offices in the Town of Center.


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Landfill and Recycling Center
Overseen by the Road and Bridge Department, the Saguache County Landfill employs 2 people full time. The annual budget alternates between $106,500 and $150,000, as about every other year a new area has to be opened up. Revenue from disposal fees are around $80,000 annually, and from recycling about $2500. A volunteer from ScSEED is currently working with the Road and Bridge supervisor to research ways to make the recycling program more sustainable, including seeking grant funding for a new baler and possible shelter for paper and cardboard that is awaiting baling and purchase. ScSEED is also working actively with the County’s school systems to both increase awareness about the importance of recycling, as well as to ensure that the maximum amount of materials that can be recycled in the County are. Recycling (like so many issues in rural counties) presents economy of scale challenges. Having more material, properly bundled, increases markets and the price paid, however if an adequate amount is not recycled, the drop-off facility can’t afford the equipment and shelter necessary manage the material effectively. Storm water plan and floodplain mitigation While FEMA mapping has been done, the County currently does not have a storm water management and flood mitigation plan in place. Key County personnel are scheduled to attend training on this topic, after which the Planning Commission anticipates that this important gap in our Plan will be remedied.

Water and Sanitation
Water and sanitation in the unincorporated territory of the County is provided almost exclusively by private wells and septic systems. Exceptions to this are the Baca Grande Water and Sanitation District, which serves the mountain portion (Chalets) of the Baca Grande subdivision and Lazy K-V Estates subdivision which has a water system. The former is under the jurisdiction of the Crestone-Baca Planning Commission and its attendant Master Plan.

Gas and Electricity
Xcel Energy and Center Municipal Light & Power are distributors of both electric and natural gas energy. The San Luis Valley and Gunnison Rural Electric Cooperatives distribute electricity only. Xcel Energy’s territory covers most of the larger cities and towns; the SLV REC serves South Fork, Crestone, Creede and a large portion of the unincorporated areas; the Gunnison REC the northwest corner of the County and Center Municipal its own town. All of these entities purchase power from Tri-State Generation & Transmission. Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is a wholesale electric power supplier owned by the 44 electric cooperatives that it serves. Tri-State generates and transports electricity to its member systems throughout a 250,000 square mile service territory that includes parts of Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming.


Draft – Saguache County Master Plan 2009
X-Cel Energy Corporation operates in 8 states and serves 3.3 million electricity and 1.8 million natural gas customers. The Public Service Company of Colorado is one of its subsidiaries. While its primary sources of electrical generation are coal, natural gas and nuclear, Xcel has also issued several requests for proposals (RFPs) for renewable energy generation, in order to meet State-mandated renewable energy portfolio standards of 20% by 2020. It is one of these RFPs that is generating the significant interest of solar developers in the San Luis Valley, including Saguache County. Currently, most energy in the county is imported. The San Luis Valley as a whole is vulnerable to supply disruptions during peak load periods in the summer months. Eighty two percent (82%) of the Valley’s peak load (about 120MW, consistently since 1994) is agriculture-related14. Telecommunications FairPoint Communications, Inc., CenturyTel and Qwest are the providers for “land line” telephone services throughout the San Luis Valley. Available are: local and long distance voice, data, internet, television and broadband. Direct TV, Dish Network and local cable companies also provide television services. Cellular providers in the County are Verizon, All-Tel and AT&T. Wild Blue, Hughes and Ridgeview Telecommunications provide satellite phone and internet services. Because of the “bowl-like” nature of the County, with high mountains on all sides, both cellular and high speed internet services here have significant reliability issues. This shortcoming has been highlighted repeatedly as a significant obstacle to development.

Emergency Services
There are three ambulance districts in the County (see map in atlas); and 10 EMS transport services in the San Luis Valley. Most EMS agencies are staffed with volunteers, who provide pre-hospital services 24/7, 365 days a year. There is no hospital in the County, however there are 3 Level IV designated trauma centers in the San Luis Valley and one in Salida. The County is serviced by 4 different fire protection districts, as shown below. The La Garita area (west of Center) is currently in the process of forming a district. The districts all have mutual aid agreements with other neighboring districts and relationships/agreements are being forged with the USFS/BLM on areas of mutual concern. If a fire occurs in an area not included in a district, nearby districts will still respond, but have the option of billing for the costs associated with that response, since no assessments are being contributed by property owners in those areas.


San Luis Valley Electric System Improvement Project Alternative Evaluation and Macro Corridor Study, pg. 3-1, June 2008


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County Sheriff The Sheriff Department reports an adequate staffing level for the current demand. There are 21 jail beds that hold an average daily population of 14. The administration building is crowded. Any additional need for administrative personnel will require more office space. Capital Improvements Plan In order to appropriately apply impact fees for new development, the County must have a Capital Improvements Plan (CIP). Such a plan identifies the capital investment needs that are associated with obsolescence – those that will be required to maintain existing levels of service to current residents. It anticipates the growth thresholds at which additional facilities (i.e. office space, jail cells, etc.) will be needed to provide the existing level of service to future residents based on projected growth rates, to prevent County services from being unexpectedly overwhelmed by increased demands associated with growth. Thirdly it allows planning for additional facilities and improvements based on expressed needs and desires of County residents. Work has begun on a 5 year capital improvements plan.


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Policy The County will be responsible for funding public improvements necessitated by obsolescence, changes in County goals, or to meet longstanding needs in the County infrastructure. Strategies Complete the five year capital improvement program. Development impact fees may be established to help pay for facilities and/or improvements necessitated by growth. Expand communication facilities, such as EMS, E911, and initiate radio stations in order to facilitate intercommunity communication.


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While Saguache County does not have a formal economic development office yet, there is interest in encouraging appropriate economic development within the County. During the most recent public forums held as part of the Master Plan process, economic development emerged as the 2nd most important concern of participating County residents, who voiced a clear need for the County to encourage economic activities that can ensure economic stability for residents and that are consistent with community values. Interestingly, providing incentives for economic development was second only to preserving open space and wildlife habitat, which speaks to a clear need for an economic development plan that does not threaten what a majority of County residents hold most dear. According to 2007 US Census data, 30.6% of people in Saguache County live in poverty. The statistic for children is 45.6%. National comparisons are 12.5% and 18% respectively, and for Colorado, 11.5%/15.3%. Many residents will quickly point out that this is by choice – there is a significant percentage of the population who embrace voluntary simplicity as a conscious choice, and willingly trade higher incomes for the quality of life attributes afforded by the county that money can’t buy. These are people who do not feel poor or “deprived” because of where they fall in a national statistical analysis. That said, the fact remains that Saguache County has historically been one of the poorest counties in Colorado, and one of the poorest in the entire nation, and many residents have expressed the desire for expanded opportunities for meaningful employment at wages that move them in the direction of economic prosperity.

Organizations Involved in Economic Development
ScSEED - The grassroots non-profit organization ScSEED (Saguache County Sustainable Environment and Economic Development initiative) is a volunteer group of citizens whose purpose is to work together as a community to develop a sustainable economy that builds on our existing strengths, contributes to a strong integrated community, and protects the environment, rural lifestyle and the character of Saguache County. Saguache County Tourism Council - The SCTC functions as the working committee under the Saguache Lodging Tax Board, which is also the Saguache Board of County Commissioners. The funding for the Council comes from the 1% lodging tax levied when a visitor stays at any motel, B&B or campground in the County. This nets approximately $10,000 in annual revenue, which by statute is to be spent on increasing the number of people visiting the County. The Council therefore grants 25% of the funds to local events to advertise to out of county tourists. The remaining 75% goes into promoting Saguache County in the greater Valley, state and beyond.


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SCTC has created partnerships with the ScSEED, Saguache County Business Association, Saguache Chamber of Commerce, and San Luis Valley Tourism Association. These cooperative efforts pool resources, allowing advertising dollars to reach further, including a map and ad in the Colorado Official Tourism Guide. San Luis Valley Development Resources Group is a Colorado nonprofit corporation. The SLV DRG promotes both economic and community-self development projects, administering both the Colorado State Enterprise Zone Program and the Revolving Loan Fund. Saguache County Business Association’s primary task is the publication of a local area guide to Saguache County businesses. Saguache County Credit Union is an active participant in Community Development, seeking funding to invest in programs, businesses, homes and activities that enrich the lives of County residents. Colorado Small Business Development Council – has a San Luis Valley office that serves the 6 counties of the SLV. Offerings include free one-on-one counseling services in the areas of business research and marketing, new business feasibility analysis, business plan preparation, finance packaging and other small business topics. They offer workshops and seminars for business owners and act as information clearing houses. Some local offices specialize in international trade, government procurement, manufacturing, home-based business and technology resources. The SBDC receives inputs from the SBDC State Advisory Board. Villa Grove Area Merchants Association - Founded in 1987 to recognize and promote the business community of this area, this not-for profit organization has expanded its role to also provide a forum for relevant public issues. Monthly meetings are designed to promote a sense of community through hosting by different members and featuring specialty-themed potlucks.

Sales Tax
The County currently imposes a 1% sales tax and no use tax. There have been three efforts in the last decade to pass a use tax, but voters have defeated it each time. If we want to encourage historic and recreational tourism as part of our economic development plan, an increased sales tax could become an important source of revenue. Of the 29 counties in Colorado that impose a use tax (applied to motor vehicles and building materials), the average rate is 1.34%. Of the 54 counties that impose a sales tax, the average rate is 1.7%.


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Employment Statistics
Sources on County employment gave conflicting data. Some of what was available appears below. The 2nd quarter 2008 average weekly wage for the County was $477, $11.93 per hour, $24,804 annualized, assuming a year round 40 hour work week. The March 09 unemployment rate for the County was 9.4%. The annualized figure for 2008 was 7.3%.

Estimated total jobs (FT & PT) 07 Private, non-farm employment Wage & Salary Jobs Labor Force (2006) Labor Force (March 09) Unemployment rate (06) Unemployment rate (08) Unemployment rate (March 09)

3057 870 1873 3234 2906 6.3% 7.3% 9.4%

Employment based on ES-202 reports by place of work for wage and salary workers covered by Colorado's U.I. Law. Employed persons are counted only once, regardless of the number of jobs held. Does not include proprietors.

Industries Currently in Saguache County

It is interesting to consider from both quality of life and sustainability perspectives is where people work relative to where they live. The table below has 2 sections. The first is where people who work in Saguache County live and the second is where people who live in Saguache County work. The data raises the question of whether some adjustments (e.g. job swaps) might be possible to reduce commuting time and resources.


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Residence County
Saguache Co. Rio Grande Co. Alamosa Co. Costilla Co. Arapahoe Co. Prowers Co. TOTAL

Workplace County
Saguache Co. Saguache Co. Saguache Co. Saguache Co. Saguache Co. Saguache Co. Saguache Co.

1,655 163 156 21 14 1 2,010

82.3% 8.1% 7.76% 1.0% .7% 100%

Saguache Co. Saguache Co. Saguache Co. Saguache Co. Saguache Co. Saguache Co. TOTAL

Saguache Co. Rio Grande Co. Alamosa Co. Chaffee Co. Gunnison Co. All other counties

1,655 406 146 80 48 77 2412

68.6% 16.8% 6.1% 3.3% 2.0% 3.2% 100%

Increased Economic Opportunities – What, Where and How?
Agriculture-related businesses and value-added ag businesses are naturals for Saguache County. There have been a few attempts in this arena in the past, but no lasting development. The reasons for the lack of success could be further analyzed in an effort to promote greater success for future endeavors. There has been some long-term interest in developing non-polluting, neighborfriendly, light-industrial and commercial business at the Saguache Municipal Airport. The County received a planning grant from the State in 2006 to assist in the decision-making process for this airport. Recently completed (Sept 08) was a Targeted Industry Study (TIS) for the San Luis Valley15, funded in part by the SLV Development Resources Group. The study includes recommendations for the Valley as a whole, and also specific recommendations for


San Luis Valley Targeted Industry Study, Rupri Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, August 25, 2008


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counties. The following sections are comprised predominantly of information taken from this Study. According to the study, priorities for Saguache County were: agriculture, solar energy development, tourism and “place-based development”, which is defined as follows: “Borrowing from decades of urban renewal experience, place-based development focuses on localized development assets and strategies to grow unique micro economies. The San Luis Valley is comprised of dozens of communities with special histories and developing niche economies. Place-based development is a strategy to support and enhance the unique qualities of local communities.” For Saguache County, some examples of place-based development would be: • the spiritual centers adjacent to Crestone, at the foot of the most rugged terrain of the Sangre de Cristos, were highlighted as an example of a unique attribute of a place that could provide place-specific economic development opportunities. The Baca Ranch was added as a National Wildlife Refuge to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in recent years, and there is a north entrance to the Park located at the southern border of the Baca. There are many healing therapies available in the area as well. CrestoneBaca could be a good location for a spa. Saguache (town) is highlighted this year on the State’s “most endangered historic place” list, and preservation and revitalization funds will be received to help reclaim the beautifully historic nature of this town. The County Courthouse is located in the Town of Saguache, which also has a museum and library and serves as a gateway to the San Luis Valley from the Continental Divide to the west. The Town of Center is a busy potato shipping and warehousing locus of activity with San Luis Central freight service. It also has agricultural treatment facilities currently supporting a vegetable processing plant, and farm worker housing. Near Villa Grove there are two hot springs resorts located off CO 17, which has a number of “roadside attractions” for weary travelers needing refreshment.

The TIS also identified a number of manufacturing industries that, according to the research, offer high wages, fit with the Valley’s workforce, could make a meaningful contribution to the Valley’s tax base and also had shown some tendency to locate in rural areas in the Western United States. These include: • • • • Food processing associated with high altitude agriculture Artisan manufacturing Medical equipment and supplies, and other transportation equipment.


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These industries were found to have potential to fit with the labor, transportation, and other resources found within the San Luis Valley. Further elaboration of these opportunities follows. Value Added Agricultural Activities - The value of agricultural production in the San Luis Valley increased from $218 million in 1997 to an estimated $400 million in 2006. However, increasing transportation costs will cause restructuring in supply and distribution chains. Developing niche products with higher levels of local value will be an important development strategy. There are two primary markets for agricultural output today -- mass markets and niche markets. Mass markets demand large volumes at the cheapest possible prices. Niche markets are associated more with food quality and safety. More affluent and concerned consumers are seeking less processed and higher quality safe food. These consumers want to know where their food comes from and they are often willing to pay premium prices. High Altitude Agriculture - There is ample evidence that the unique combination of soils, irrigation and solar energy at these altitudes contributes to genuine qualities in what the Valley produces. For example, alfalfa tends to contain more protein per ton than alfalfa grown at lower altitudes; carrots have significantly higher levels of beta-carotene. The Valley has a clear opportunity to create unique regional brand identity, and to market the region based on these qualities. Agriculture’s Development Considerations - The Valley knows agriculture and has a strong sense of the direction it needs to head to remain competitive and prosperous. But challenges are involved with moving from a commodity based agricultural system to more of a “new generation niche market” system. This is a new way of doing business where entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial ventures will be critical in connecting producers and processors with niche markets. Developing these entrepreneurial abilities within the Valley is key to the success of this development opportunity. Artisan manufacturing was identified as a high-wage, high-skill manufacturing headquarters function that is well suited to rural areas. Artisan manufacturers generally control and manage a supply chain located throughout the nation or world, and locate supply management and design functions at a headquarters location. The headquarters location as a consequence is “footloose”, and not tied to traditional requirements for large scale production facilities such as the need for a large labor force, or highway transportation. Artisan manufacturers can locate their headquarters based on the availability and requirements of the entrepreneur and their high skilled management and design team. Quality of life is often a key consideration in location, and artisan manufacturers have been found to cluster in relatively rural areas with a unique quality of life. While the above may represent a long term growth opportunity for the County, we currently have a number of small-scale local artisans that require micro-business start-up and marketing assistance.


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Medical Equipment and Supplies and Other Transportation Equipment were identified among the high growth manufacturing industries for the United States over the next decade. Output in these industries is expected to expand by 52% to 68% over the 10-year period. Each industry offers high wages (approximately $25/hour) and makes a significant contribution to the property tax base. Thus, each has substantial potential for growth and each is worth pursuing in terms of what it would provide to the regional economy. Pharmaceutical manufacturing was identified as another industry with high projected growth and good wages, however it was not found to have been locating in non-metropolitan regions. A segment of the pharmaceutical industry may be well suited to the Valley though. In particular, it was found that there may be pharmaceutical spin-offs from growing crops at high altitudes. For example, there is a spike in antioxidants in potatoes grown in the region. Such characteristics of crops grown at high altitude in the Valley may be well suited for botanicals, that is, the portion of the pharmaceutical industry that processes natural plants into medicines. A list of the specific industries among the studies selected manufacturing targets follows: • • Artisan Manufacturing Medical Equipment and Supplies - Laboratory Apparatus and Furniture - Surgical and Medical Instruments - Dental Equipment and Supplies - Ophthalmic Goods - Dental laboratories Other Transportation Equipment - Motorcycle, bicycle, and parts - All other transportation equipment Pharmaceuticals - Botanical Manufacturing

• •

Selected Manufacturing Development Implications
Workforce Considerations Most of the establishments in these selected manufacturing industries employ anywhere from a handful to several dozen workers. Large establishments are unusual. The scale of the workforce requirement therefore is consistent with the size of the Valley workforce. Most blue collar job requirements are in titles such as assemblers, technicians or cutters. These are moderate skill occupations. According to the U.S. Department of Labor data, most require just a few months to a year of training alongside an experienced employee. These industries should be able to utilize the current SLV workforce. Site Considerations Production in the selected industries is of a modest scale, and the industries are not heavy users of utilities such as electricity, natural gas, and water. Therefore significant new site requirements would not be anticipated. However, improvements in local high speed internet, cell phone service and air service would be required to


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support artisan manufacturers. These industries by and large do not require that an interstate highway be present in a region.

Supply and Distribution Needs Beyond access to land, these operations tend to be “turn key”, requiring very little from the local economy or community. Parts and supplies as well as manufacturing equipment will be manufactured externally. Community Impact Considerations Dramatic changes in the number of people or workers related to the development of these industries was not anticipated, consequently, community impacts on housing, infrastructure, or the environment are anticipated to be incremental and modest. Additional demand for services and infrastructure will need to be projected and weighed against anticipated additional revenues. The need for impact fees for new development will be assessed on an individual basis as actual development proposals are submitted. Wherever employment opportunities are created, thought and care should be given to relevant transportation, noise and waste management issues. An Eye to Self-Sufficiency - Another avenue to explore is how we can promote businesses that would provide goods and services that are not currently available in our communities.

Renewable Energy Development
At this writing, the San Luis Valley is the top-rated target for large scale solar energy development in Colorado, and the 5th ranked site in the nation. Other renewable energy sources that could potentially be developed include wind, geothermal, biomass and hydroelectric. It has been speculated that natural gas resources may also underlie parts of Saguache County. In March 2009 Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar signed a new Secretarial Order encouraging renewable energy development on public lands and establishing a new Departmental Task Force on Energy and Climate Change. The objective of the Task Force is to identify areas on our public lands that are best suited for renewable energy production and transmission, and establish best management practices to ensure “the most environmentally responsible development and delivery of renewable energy.” Given Saguache County’s location in one of the highest solar insolation areas in the U.S., and the fact that the county is comprised of over 70% public land, such an order could be expected to result in significant development of our solar resources. To the maximum extent feasible, new energy development will be required to utilize existing infrastructure, be sited to ensure minimal negative impacts to wildlife habitat, viewsheds, recreational activities and ongoing agricultural operations. In addition, any energy development that poses a significant threat to the underlying aquifers will be stringently regulated and/or restricted. The Planning Commission


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has completed and recommended solar development regulations for the County that are in the process of being reviewed by the Board of County Commissioners. Currently there is significant competition among solar developers to be the first big project approved in the San Luis Valley, because existing transmission infrastructure out of the Valley can only accommodate one major project. Subsequent development will have to await the construction of additional transmission.

Distributed Generation

This . . .

or this?


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While Saguache County is highly supportive of renewable energy development, we are aware of the current national debate and research that clearly points to a distributed model (rooftop, site-based, and municipal scale) of renewable energy development as the most ecological, economically and socially beneficial, lowest risk (in terms of both investment and national security issues) and the fastest way to get renewable on line and in use, lowering our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels in general. In Colorado, residential renewable energy businesses have tripled in just over 3 years16. As we install clean energy in more homes and businesses, this industry will create more high-paying jobs for the Colorado economy. The County should explore ways to develop our significant renewable energy resources in a manner that maximizes benefits to County and other San Luis Valley residents. The County supports the creation of the San Luis Valley Power Authority currently undergoing a feasibility study.

Biomass and Biofuel17
Biomass technologies include numerous ways of using organic matter to directly generate power, heat, be processed into fuels, or converted to organically derived chemicals and other materials. Since many types of organic matter is constantly renewed, biomass processes offer the benefit of generating oxygen while growing, and their combustion or conversion generates much less carbon and toxins than conventional fossil fuels. Biomass sources include agricultural food and feed crops, crop waste and residues, wood wastes and residues, dedicated energy crops and trees, aquatic plants, animal wastes, and municipal wastes. Recent tax incentives have made forest residues, agricultural residues, and energy crops more economic for energy use than they were previously. Forest residues include underutilized logging residues, imperfect commercial trees, dead wood, and other non-commercial trees that need to be thinned from crowded, unhealthy, fire-prone forests. Because of their sparseness and remote location, these residues are usually more expensive to recover than urban and mill residues.
16 17

Governor’s Energy Office website Excerpted (in edited form)from Colorado Renewable Energy Society website


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Agricultural residues are the biomass materials remaining after harvesting agricultural crops. These residues include wheat straw, corn stover (leaves, stalks, and cobs), orchard trimmings, etc. Due to the high costs for recovering most agricultural residues, they are not yet widely used for energy purposes; however, they can offer a sizeable biomass resource if supply infrastructures are developed to economically recover and deliver them to energy facilities. Energy crops are crops developed and grown specifically for fuel. These crops are carefully selected to be fast growing, drought and pest resistant, and readily harvested alternative crops. Energy crops include fast-growing trees, shrubs, and grasses. In addition to environmental benefits, energy crops can provide income benefits for farmers and rural landowners. Key elements in making biomass technologies commercially and economically feasible involve details of collection, handling, and distribution of resources to processing plants. Biofuel Resources - In general, current U.S. ethanol production is based largely on the starch in kernels of field corn, the nation's largest agricultural crop. Any starch or sugar crop, however, can now be used to make ethanol. As increased commercialization of advanced bio-ethanol technology occurs, vast additional resources will become increasingly available to supplement ethanol production from corn kernels. Advanced bio-ethanol technology plants will likely use "opportunity" feedstocks such as paper mill or food processing wastes from concentrated sources that currently have low value or are treated as waste. However there is also the possibility to make ethanol from agricultural residues such as corn stover (roughly equivalent in mass to the corn grain crop), or forestry residues such as from lumber mills or from forest thinning to reduce fire danger near urban areas. In the future, ethanol could be made from dedicated energy crops of fast-growing trees and grasses. Current U.S. bio-diesel production is based largely on oil from soybeans and recycled restaurant cooking oils. Both of these are currently in surplus and biodiesel production uses only a very minor fraction of available supply. Any animal fat or vegetable oil can be used to make bio-diesel. As described previously, in the San Luis Valley, bio-diesel is already in production using canola and sunflower seed grown specifically for the purpose. The production process also results in a high nutrient animal feed. In 2009 a Biomass & By-product Business Innovation Competition being cosponsored by ScSEED and the San Luis Valley Development Resources Group. The winner of the Innovation Competition will receive a venture capital grant (between $2,500 - $5,000), professional assistance and marketing package.

The Saguache County Tourism Board is participating in Valley-wide efforts to attract tourists and outdoor enthusiasts to the Valley. Given the wealth of potential “destinations” – National Forest and designated


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wilderness areas, stunning natural beauty and recreational opportunities, wildlife, hunting and fishing, historic sites, hot springs, spiritual and healing centers, art and artisans, sustainable architecture and energy, music, historic rail and even hot air

Ballooning, the San Luis Valley and western mountain areas have great appeal for those wanting a vacation that is healthful and enriching as well as fun. Combining our efforts and resources with other Valley counties will enable a greater outreach. Use of advertising in major business publications, as well as professional publications and trade journals, could be successful in marketing the County as a place to visit and vacation.

Resource Extraction and Development
Mineral extraction in Saguache County has historically risen and fallen with both domestic and world-wide markets. The Colorado Geologic Survey, Department of Natural Resources produces annual summaries and field production data regarding oil and gas production for the entire state, including county-level production summaries. However Saguache County has very limited geographic information regarding resource extraction. As this data becomes available it should be inserted into this document, and changes in policy, if necessary, should be implemented.

Impact Fees
A strong concern consistently expressed in community input surveys is that development pay its own way and not negatively impact the level of existing services. Impact fees for infrastructure and service expansion will be considered on a case-bycase basis as part of the development proposal review process. The County is in the process of creating a Capital Improvement Plan to serve as one basis for these fees. GOAL Develop a diversified and stable economic base that provides Saguache County residents with a variety of opportunities for meaningful employment that provides life-enhancing remuneration. Policy Support a business environment that encourages existing businesses and industries to remain in Saguache County, grow, and continue to be successful while providing benefits to the County and its citizens.


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Strategies Create a more dynamic partnership with the CSU Field Station located in the Valley, in support of agricultural product and market development and a local agriculture network. Assemble a package of information on technical and financial assistance and incentives available to building and business owners, such as low-interest loans and federal/state historic rehabilitation investment tax credits and incentives Continue to pursue efforts to develop mutually beneficial and cooperative relationships between the County, existing businesses and related organizations. Encourage and support cross-marketing opportunities. Policy Initiate and support economic development programs which identify and recruit activities that provide a living wage, increase sales and property tax revenue, and are environmentally responsible to locate in Saguache County. Strategies Initiate efforts to modernize and improve telecommunication services available to County businesses. Take advantage of recent market research, and expand this effort if necessary, to identify opportunities to develop Saguache County assets to local advantage and link them to larger markets. Recruit specific businesses that represent “top prospects” for the County. Assess the feasibility of profitable biomass industries within the County. Assess opportunities provided by the 2009 “stimulus package” (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) to build long-term local enterprises. Provide entrepreneurship training to County residents, particularly for developing agricultural niche markets and for our young adults. Periodically assess the effectiveness of partnership efforts among economic and community development entities. Implement changes to strengthen these efforts if necessary to ensure success. Emphasize improvement of amenities that make Saguache County a desirable place to live and do business, including quality of life and access to recreational opportunities. Consider offering incentives to businesses who may be looking to locate in Saguache County, consistent with the County’s economic development foci.


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Consider development impacts on quality of life, i.e. public safety, housing, education, utility services, etc. when recruiting new businesses, and develop a set of target businesses that are consistent with the adopted Master Plan. Policy Pursue renewable energy resource development in a manner that provides maximum benefits to local residents.

Strategies Pursue passage of a statewide renewable energy production tax that will provide a source of revenue for areas impacted by renewable energy production. Partner with ScSEED, the GEO and local RE businesses to research the training needed for long term, well-paid jobs in energy conservation, solar energy production and other renewable energy, and provide this to County high schools and employment agencies. Partner with Adams State, Western State, Trinidad and Colorado Colleges to find funding for and create a training program for energy conservation and RE jobs. GOAL Increase revenue from low environmental impact tourism in the County. Policy Effectively convey the attractiveness of Saguache County’s natural, historic, cultural and recreational resources. Strategies Expand partnership activities with the Saguache County Tourism Council to promote the map of “not-to-miss” County (and nearby) sites of natural, historic and recreational interest. Work with state and federal land management agencies to identify and expand educational/recreational opportunities/activities on public lands within and adjacent to the County. Work to enhance and maintain existing festivals and events and to introduce new events/activities that appeal to targeted market segments. Initiate a process to increase the County sales tax. GOAL


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Achieve an adequate mix of commercial development that meets the needs of citizens and visitors

Support and promote compact, mixed use commercial areas. Strategies

Encourage SC towns to enhance the appearance of their downtown areas through historic preservation, signage, streetscape improvements and design features. Support efforts to diversify businesses. Encourage municipalities to create high density, mixed use commercial districts in areas of existing development. Policy Actively pursue development of commercial corridors. Strategies
Encourage creation of street plans in developing commercial areas that access State Highways to provide adequate access for businesses. Create zoning regulations to control the types of businesses allowed in neighborhood commercial areas.

Ensure that land use codes and approval processes at both the municipal and county levels allow the appropriate extraction of natural resources and mitigate for all impacts associated with these activities.

Carefully review existing permitting processes to ensure that all potential impacts are mitigated prior to extraction and processing of all natural resources activities.


Community Culture
As in many rural places with a pioneering history, the community culture in the County is characterized by a “long distance good neighbors” policy. We tend towards rugged individualism - we like our privacy, freedom and independence - but are “there in a minute” if one of us needs help of any kind. Given our remote location, we are well aware that there are many scenarios that could leave us very much depending on one another. Given the County’s small population, there are an amazing number of artists, musicians, poets and artisans creating here, as well as a rich ranching and farming history and wide open spaces of the physical environment.

Historic Sites
Saguache County contains a number of historic sites that appear on National and State Registers of Historic Properties. These include the Carnero Creek Pictographs (NR, 1975), Saguache School and Jail Buildings (NR, 1975); Saguache Flour Mill (NR 1978) – one of the few remaining water-powered grist mills in Colorado; Capilla de San Juan Bautista, a.k.a La Garita church (NR, 1980); Crestone School (NR, 1986); Saguache County Courthouse (SR, 1993); Saguache Elementary School (SR, 1993); Sargent Schoolhouse (SR 1995); and Dunn's Block/Means & Ashley Mercantile Company, Saguache (SR, 2006)18. Being a place where many streams of human culture – Native American, Spanish, trappers, miners, farmers, ranchers, war veterans, loggers, environmentalists and spiritual practitioners - converged, there are a plethora of historic sites in the San Luis Valley. Penitente Canyon, now one of Colorado’s premier rock climbing
The old Saguache Crescent building

destinations, was once a secluded hermitage for a lay Catholic brotherhood, Los Hermanos Penitentes. There are many historic mining districts and archeological artifacts. There are other sites of important if less glorious aspects of history, such as the old Agency Work Center where the Ute’s were located before being moved to Montrose. The Old Spanish Trail, an historic trade route which became part of the National Historic Trails system in 2002, as well as Pike’s Trail, traverse the Valley.


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There are 5 school districts that are either wholly or partially contained within the County: Mountain Valley, Moffat, Center, Gunnison Watershed and Sangre de Cristo. The map on the following page delineates them. There is a charter school in the Crestone-Baca area (part of the Moffat school district) that is currently in a Master Planning process in anticipation of receiving funds to build a new school facility under the State’s BEST program. Nearly 1000 SC children were enrolled in schools in the Fall of 2007. Mountain Valley Schools have an excess of capacity. According to that district’s superintendent, the schools that at one time housed 300-350 students now have an enrollment of 120-130. Center school facilities are also underutilized. Colorado College, based in Colorado Springs, has a fieldwork campus in the Baca, but otherwise there are no post-secondary institutions in the County. Only about 70% of Saguache County kids finish high school, and while this is an improvement over past statistics, how to keep our kids in school longer and motivated to pursue higher education should be a persistent goal of the County. In addition, the County should ensure convenient adult education and training opportunities to County residents who would like to pursue their education even though they may be working, or upgrade their skills to get a better job. Saguache County Library The Saguache County Public Library was given its present home in Saguache in 1963, through the donations of land by the Town of Saguache and the funding for construction provided by the Gotthelf family. The library is an eco-friendly building made from native adobe, with lots of solar gain. The library also has a branch in Center located at the high school. The following activities are offered by the SCPL:
• • • • • • • • •

Access to books, periodicals, audio books, books for the blind, educational children’s materials (puppets, puzzles, flannel board stories) and videos An excellent collection of Colorado non-fiction resources Weekly pre-school story hours Summer reading programs for children Free public computer access Inter-library loan system that allows patrons to borrow from libraries across Colorado Use of color copier and fax machines for minimal fees Cozily furnished reading room, complete with player piano, for individual use or public meetings Monthly special events and an open house.

Recognizing the vital role that the library plays in educating and entertaining our community, the Friends of the Saguache Library is a local non-profit agency dedicated to increasing public awareness and providing financial support, through gifts, memorials and endowments.


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Public Health and Social Services
The County Public Health Department provides the following home and community based services: • • • • • • • • • • • Regional and County Disaster Preparedness Home Care Providers for both adults and children with special needs Nursing Services - Immunization and Vaccinations Prevention Services Communicable Disease Investigation and Information Annual Health Fair Senior Services Newborn Baby Home Visits Outreach Clinics Diabetes Support Group Public Health Educational Programs

Public Housing is addressed in the Housing section.

Current Community Events
There area number of annual events that attract both County residents and those from afar. These include the Crestone Music Festival, a Memorial Day celebration and Historic Museum opening in Saguache, a Ranching Celebration sponsored by ScSEED (Saguache), a Harvest Festival (Center), La Garita Days, Shumei International Annual Celebration (the Baca), and Artists Studio Tour (Crestone-Baca), Moffatstock, Crestone Winterfest and a Fall Festival (Saguache).

Ranching Celebration – Saguache photo: ScSEED

Crestone Music Festival

Rug Auction at the Music Festival Photos: Crestone Performances Inc.


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Recreation is an integral part of the Saguache County lifestyle. With the combination of an abundance of public lands and a sparse population, many types of high quality outdoor recreational experiences are readily available year round. The County does not operate any recreational facilities, and indoor facilities such as gym, pool, tennis/squash courts, etc. are not available in the County, however there are two hot springs resorts in the north end of the County: Valley View, stewarded and operated by the Orient Land Trust, and Mineral Hot Springs & Joyful Journey Resort. On the south end there is the (also hot mineral water) Sand Dunes pool NE of Hooper. There is fishing and boating on the state run Dome Lakes, consummate birding at Russell Lakes and bicycle tours (a Ride the Rockies segment takes place here) .
Pool at Valley View

Great Sand Dunes pool

The figure on the following page shows a possible Trails Framework that incorporates both natural and historic points of interest and highlights connectivity between them.


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Goal Provide adequate parks and recreation facilities to serve the recreation needs of residents and visitors. Policy Park and recreation facilities should provide for both outdoor and indoor recreation opportunities for County residents and guests. Strategies Create an informational brochure describing the various recreational opportunities in the County. Evaluate existing recreational demands and facilities located within the local area. Upgrade and/or add facilities to meet unmet recreational needs. Explore the possibility of using existing school facilities year round and evenings for public recreation, to put such recreation opportunities closer to home for more of the County’s residents. Explore with the Forest Service and other public land managers how best to meet the recreational demands of residents and visitors.


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Develop and utilize public open space areas for recreation. Develop site design criteria that provide an open space requirement for new development. Encourage municipalities to develop a trails network/bike routes to provide safe linkages between neighborhoods, parks, recreational facilities and other community facilities. Study possibilities to utilize no longer used railroad beds as trail routes. Develop cooperative agreements with landowners regarding joint use of rights-of-way for trails.

Enhance ties between the East and West sides of the County as well as among neighboring towns and communities while recognizing the need to maintain local and diverse identities. Strategies Promote a sense of “county-ness” through communication about issues that concern the county as a whole. Improve networking throughout the County and foster more county-wide partnerships. Welcome new county residents by providing them with information about County amenities. Develop mechanisms for dealing informally and constructively with disputes. Strengthen dialogue, sharing of information, and cooperation between the community, public school officials and other agencies and organizations. GOAL Provide Saguache County residents and visitors with a variety of cultural and special events opportunities. Policy Promote community events that bring residents together and are inviting to visitors. Strategies Provide support for community sponsored events. Investigate the feasibility and potential benefits of new events to include sporting events (e.g. marathon or bicycle race) music, art, festivals etc. and consider funding these events.


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Policy Support community educational opportunities. Strategies Work with schools to develop innovative uses of community adult volunteers as mentors, intern supervisors, providers of classroom resources, etc. Evaluate the possibilities for school district partnerships that lower costs of delivering programs. Enrich the relationship with School Districts to ensure that common issues have a forum for cooperative discussion and resolution. Study the feasibility of creating a Library District to provide needed funding for the library. Weave “homegrown” educational resources like the Ranching Way of Life video and Saguache Community Garden into school curricula. Create a Youth Corps and summer work opportunities for County youth. Policy Ensure the adequacy of social services to County residents. Strategies Survey the social and health needs, including day-care programs, of the County’s citizens and services programs. Determine what more can be done to improve current health and human services programs, possibly with additional resources. Study the possibility of establishing a health care/ human resources center for the County. Policy Encourage volunteer activities in the County and its communities. Strategies Formally recognize the importance of care and support facilities and service groups to the well-being of county residents. Recognize the importance of local foundations and their support for community services and projects.


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Appendix A Authorization under Colorado State Statutes
30-28-108. Adoption of plan by resolution. Statute text A county or regional planning commission may adopt the county or regional master plan as a whole by a single resolution or, as the work of making the whole master plan progresses, may adopt parts thereof, any such part to correspond generally with one or more of the functional subdivisions of the subject matter which may be included in the plan. The commission may amend, extend, or add to the plan or carry any part of it into greater detail from time to time. The adoption of the plan or any part, amendment, extension, or addition shall be by resolution carried by the affirmative votes of not less than a majority of the entire membership of the commission. The resolution shall refer expressly to the maps and descriptive matter intended by the commission to form the whole or part of the plan. The action taken shall be recorded on the map and descriptive matter by the identifying signature of the secretary of the commission. History Source: L. 39: p. 297, § 7. CSA: C. 45A, § 7. CRS 53: § 106-2-7. C.R.S. 1963: § 106-2-7. Annotations Commission may amend, add, or extend plan once adopted and approved. Once the master plan is adopted by the commission and approved by the board, the commission then may amend, extend, or add to the plan as time and circumstances dictate. Johnson v. Board of County Comm'rs, 34 Colo. App. 14, 523 P.2d 159 (1974), aff'd sub nom. Colorado Leisure Prods., Inc. v. Johnson, 187 Colo. 443, 532 P.2d 742 (1975). Also, this section is applicable to the resolutions of county commissioners on the subject of zoning property. Gorden v. Board of County Comm'rs, 152 Colo. 376, 382 P.2d 545 (1963). In amending the zoning law, the official or body making the amendment is enacting law, binding on the public, and is not merely dealing with the rights of the owners of the particular property affected, and the act is legislative and based on present facts, rather than judicial and dependent on past facts. Gorden v. Board of County Comm'rs, 152 Colo. 376, 382 P.2d 545 (1963). Municipal ordinance precluded. Where a statute, such as this section, authorizes the adoption of zoning regulations by means of resolution, the municipality may not act by way of ordinance; but where the statute requires an ordinance for the attainment of the zoning restriction, a resolution is ineffective to accomplish the desired result. Gorden v. Board of County Comm'rs, 152 Colo. 376, 382 P.2d 545 (1963). The pronouncements of the supreme court in cases dealing with zoning ordinances adopted by cities are applicable to the actions of county commissioners in connection with zoning "resolutions" which they are now authorized to adopt, unless some specific statutory provision authorizes a different procedure. Gorden v. Board of County Comm'rs, 152 Colo. 376, 382 P.2d 545 (1963).


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Appendix B


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Colorado Natural Heritage Program’s iii

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List of Saguache County Proposed Conservation Sites by Biodiversity Significance as of 1997
SITE NAME Biodiversity Rank B1 B2 B2 B2 B2 B2 B2 B2 B2 B2 B2 B2 B2 B2 B3 B3 B3 B3 B3 B3 B3 B3 B3 B3 B3 B3 B3 B3 B3 B3 B3 B4 B4 B4 B4 B4 B4 B4 B4 B4 B4 B5 B5 B5 B5 Protection Urgency Rank P3 P3 P3 P3 P4 P3 P2 P2 P2 P2 P4 P4 P3 P3 P4 P4 P3 P4 P4 P4 P3 P3 P4 P4 P4 P3 P4 P4 P4 P5 P2 P3 P4 P4 P3 P4 P4 P4 P2 P4 P4 P4 P4 P4 P4 Management Urgency Rank M4 M4 M4 M3 M4 M4 M4 M3 M3 M3 M4 M4 M3 M3 M2 M3 M3 M4 M5 M4 M3 M4 M4 M4 M4 M3 M3 M4 M4 M5 M4 M3 M4 M4 M3 M4 M3 M4 M2 M5 M4 M3 M4 M3 M4 Sub-Region

Great Sand Dunes 660 Road Site Antelope Springs Deadman Creek Decker Creek Elephant Rocks Head of Spanish Creek Jacks Creek Uplands Mishak Lakes Russell Lakes San Luis Lakes/Sand Creek Trickle Mountain Valley View Hot Spring Villa Grove Carnero Creek Cotton Creek Cottonwood Creek Cottonwood Creek Hills Dimick Gulch Findley Gulch Ford Creek Jacks Creek Cemetery Kelley Creek Lake Fork of North Crestone Creek Milwaukee Peak Rito Alto Bosque Saguache Creek Sangre's Alluvial Fan Upper Medano Creek Valley View Weisman Lakes Cedar Canyon Clayton Cone Devils Knob Garner Creek Houselog Creek Luder Creek Mineral Hot Springs Moffat playas Slaughterhouse Creek Wild Cherry Creek Eagle Mountain East Middle Creek Groundhog Park La Garita * NVF – North Valley Floor

Sand Dunes San Juan Mountains Sand Dunes Middle Sangre’s North Sangres/NVF* San Juan Mountains Middle Sangre’s Cochetopa Hills Playas Playa Lakes Playa Lakes Cochetopa Hills Middle Sangre’s North Sangre’s/NVF San Juan Mountains Middle Sangre’s Middle Sangre’s San Juan Mountains Middle Sangre’s Cochetopa Hills Cochetopa Hills Cochetopa Hills Cochetopa Hills Middle Sangre’s Middle Sangre’s Middle Sangre’s San Juan Mountains North Sangre’s-NVF Middle Sangre’s Middle Sangre’s Playa Lakes Middle Sangre’s North Sangre’s-NVF Cochetopa Hills Middle Sangre’s Cochetopa Hills Cochetopa Hills North Sangre’s-NVF North Sangre’s-NVF Cochetopa Hills Middle Sangre’s San Juan Mountains Cochetopa Hills San Juan Mountains San Juan Mountains


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Appendix C Federal Energy Related Programs Energy Efficiency Incentives
• •

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Consumer tax credit of up to $300 for energy efficiency improvements to the home, including energy efficient biomass fuel stoves. Expires 12/31/2009 Energy efficiency tax credit of 10% of cost for residential building envelope improvements (insulation and air sealing); 100% of cost for qualified energy efficient appliances (such as furnaces, boilers, water heaters, window upgrades). Maximum varies by technology, but overall cap of $500 for all improvements combined. Measures must be installed in the 2009 calendar year. New energy efficient home property tax credit for the construction of new homes that achieve a 30% or 50% reduction in heating and cooling energy consumption relative to a comparable home. The credit for 30% increase in efficiency is $1000, for 50%, $2000. Expires 12/31/2009 Energy efficient buildings deduction to owners of new or existing commercial buildings who install interior lighting OR HVAC OR hot water systems that reduce the building's total energy and power cost by 50% or more relative to a comparable building. Deduction equals $0.30 - $1.80 per square foot depending on the technology and energy reduction. Expires 12/31/2013 Accelerated depreciation for smart meters and smart grid systems and recycling equipment. Authorization of $800 million in new Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs) to state and local government initiatives designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. QECBs can be issued to finance capital expenditures incurred for reducing energy consumption by at least 20%, implementing green community programs and rural development involving production of electricity from renewable resources. Manufacturer tax credits for sales of high-efficiency refrigerators, clothes washers, dishwashers, and dehumidifiers. Expires 12/31/2010 Solar Energy Incentives

Investment Tax Credit (ITC) of 30% of installation costs, including solar energy equipment and labor, with no maximum credit limit for commercial systems. Eligible property includes equipment that uses solar energy to generate electricity, to heat or cool (or provide hot water for use in) a structure, or to provide solar process heat. Credit reverts to 10% 12/31/2016 Investment Tax Credit (ITC) of 30% of installation costs, including solar energy equipment and labor, for residential systems. While a cap of $2,000 applied to all solar (photovoltaic and domestic hot water) systems installed on or before 12/31/2008; no cap exists for solar photovoltaic beginning 01/01/2009. Credit reverts to 10% 12/31/2016 Wind Energy Incentives


Draft – Saguache County Master Plan 2009

Investment Tax Credit (ITC) of 30% of total installed costs for small wind systems (100kW capacity or less) for home, farm, or business use. Residential systems are limited to the lesser of $1,000 per kW capacity or $4,000. Measured output must be installed by 12/31/2016 Production Tax Credit (PTC) of 2.1 cents/kWh for wind facilities. Expires 12/31/2009 Geothermal Energy Incentives

Investment Tax Credit (ITC) of 10% of expenditures for geothermal energy property, including geothermal heat pumps and equipment used to produce, distribute or use energy derived from a geothermal deposit. For electricity produced by geothermal power, equipment qualifies only up to, but not including, the electric transmission stage. For geothermal heat pumps, this credit applies to and is capped at $2,000. In service date range (heat pumps only): 01/01/2008-12/31/2016 Fuel Cells Incentives

Investment Tax Credit (ITC) of 30% of expenditures for commercial or residential fuel cell property. The credit is capped at $1,500 per 0.5 kw of capacity for commercial, $500 per half kw for residential. Eligible property includes fuel cells with a minimum nameplate capacity of 0.5 kW that have an electricity-only generation efficiency of 30% or higher. Expires: 12/31/2016 Other Renewable Energy Incentives

Investment Tax Credit (ITC) of 10% of expenditures for microturbines with system size of up to 2 MW in capacity that have an electricity-only generation efficiency of 26% or higher. Credit is capped at $200 per kw of capacity. Expires: 12/31/2016 Investment Tax Credit (ITC) of up 10% of expenditures for combined heat and power (CHP) systems. Eligible CHP property generally includes systems up to 50 MW in capacity that exceed 60% energy efficiency, subject to certain limitations and reductions for large systems. The efficiency requirement does not apply to CHP systems that use biomass for at least 90% of the system's energy source, but the credit may be reduced for less-efficient systems. New authorization for $800 million in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) to finance facilities that generate electricity from wind, (closed-loop or open-loop) biomass, geothermal, small irrigation, qualified hydropower, landfill gas, marine renewable and trash combustion facilities. Public power providers, governmental bodies, and electric cooperatives are each reserved an equal share (33.33%) of the most recent allocation. The termination date for existing clean renewable energy bonds is extended by one year. Deferral of gain on sales of transmission property by vertically integrated electric utilities to FERC-approved independent transmission companies. Applies to sales occurring before 01/01/2010 Transportation & Alternative Fuels Incentives vi

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Credit for plug-in electric drive vehicles ranging from $2,500-$7,500. The credit can be applied to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) liability. Expires: The first quarter after 250,000 qualified vehicles have been sold in the US. Allowance for limited fringe benefits provided by employers to employees who commute to work by bicycle to offset the costs of such commuting (e.g., storage). Alternative Refueling Stations Property Tax Credit for 30% of the property for natural gas or E85 pumps Expands the tax credit to apply to electric vehicle recharging property. Expires: 12/31/2010 Alternative Fuels Excise Tax Credit for all fuels, except hydrogen. Biomass gas versions of liquefied petroleum gas and liquefied or compressed natural gas, and aviation fuels qualify for the credit. Expires: 12/31/2009 Production Tax Credit (PTC) of $1/gal for biodiesel, $0.10/gal for small biodiesel producers, and $1/gal diesel fuel from biomass. Regardless of the process used, as long as the fuel is usable as home heating oil, as a fuel in vehicles, or as aviation jet fuel. Expires: 12/31/2009 Diesel fuel created by co-processing biomass with other feedstocks (e.g., petroleum) will be eligible for the 50¢/gallon tax credit for alternative fuels. Taxpayers are allowed to immediately write off 50% of the cost of facilities that produce cellulosic biofuels ethanol if such facilities are placed in service before 01/01/2013. Section 9004 of the 2008 Farm Bill: Repowering Assistance – Provides for payments to biorefineries to replace fossil fuels used to produce heat or power to operate the biorefineries with renewable biomass. $35 Million for FY 2009 that will remain available until the funds are exhausted with additional funding of $15 million per year, from FY 2009 through 2012. Section 9005 of the 2008 Farm Bill: Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels – Provides for payments to be made to eligible agricultural producers to support and ensure an expanding production of advanced biofuels. $55 Million in FYs 2009 and 2010; $85 Million in FY 2011; $105 Million in FY 2012 with additional funding of $25 million per year, from FY 2009 to 2012 Section 9013 of the 2008 Farm Bill: Community Wood Energy Program – Provides grants to state and local governments to develop community wood energy plans and to acquire or upgrade wood energy systems. $5 Million per year from FY 2009 through FY 2012. Section 9007 of the 2008 Farm Bill: Rural Energy for America Program – Expands and renames the program formerly called the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program. Provides grants and loan guarantees for energy audits, feasibility studies and project development of renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. Adds hydroelectric source technologies and energy audits as eligible costs. Increases loan limits. $55 Million for FY 2009; $60 Million for FY 2010; $70 Million for FYs 2011 and 2012 with additional funding of $25 Million per year, from FY 2009 through 2012.


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Appendix D

Environmental Reviews applicable to Economic Development Projects (partial listing)
Historic Properties ∗ National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 – P.L. 89-665, 16 U.S.C. 470. ∗ The Archeological and Historic Data Preservation Act of 1974 – P.L. 93-291, 16 U.S.C. 469. ∗ Executive Order #11593, Protection and Enhancement of the Cultural Environment. ∗ 36 CFR, Part 800, Procedure for the Protection of Historic and Cultural Properties. ∗ 24 CFR, Part 59, Protection of Historic and Cultural Properties under HUD programs. Floodplains and Wetlands ∗ Protection of Wetlands, 44 FR 47006, August 9, 1973. ∗ Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, 42 U.S.C. 4001, et seq. ∗ Executive Order #11988, Floodplain Management, May 24, 1977, 42 FR 26952, May 25, 1977. ∗ Executive Order #11990, Protection of Wetlands, May 24, 1977, 42 FR 26951, May 25, 1977. ∗ Colorado Executive Order #8491, Evaluation of Flood Hazards in Locating State Buildings, Road and other Facilities, and in Reviewing and Approving Sewage and Water Facilities, and Subdivisions. ∗ Colorado Executive Order #8504, Requirements and Criteria for State Participation in the National Flood Insurance Program. Endangered Species∗ Endangered Species Act of 1973, P.L. 93-205, as amended by the Endangered Species Act of 1978, P.L. 95-632, 16 U.S.C. 1536. Wild and Scenic Rivers∗ Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, P.L. 90-542, 16 U.S.C., 1274, et seq., as amended. Air Quality∗ Clean Air Act Amendment of 1970, 42 U.S.C. 740 1 et seq., as amended, particularly Section 176 (c) and (d). Noise, Hazardous Siting, Airport Runway Clear Zones, EPA Superfund Sites∗ 24 CFR, Part 51, Environmental Criteria and Standards, 44 FR 40860-40866, July 12, 1979 (Revised 1984). Farmland Protection∗ Farmland Protection Policy Act of 1981, 7 U.S.C. 42 01 et seq., particularly sections 1540(b) and 1541. Environmental Justice∗ 3 CFR, 1994 Comp. P. 859; 59 FR 7629, Executive Order 12898, February 11, 1994.