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Pagosa Springs
Friday, October 22, 2021

Community issues: Pick your interest and get involved

By Mary Jo Coulehan
Pagosa Springs Area
Chamber of Commerce

In early 2020, the Chamber conducted a survey for the business community asking what the top three issues were that affected your business the most. Actually, four issues came to the surface: broadband, qualified work force, housing and community infrastructure (licensing, building, planning, signage). There are groups working on all of these issues. Of course, the solutions never come as fast as we want them. However, it also takes a village to execute change and that is where our residents and businesses come into play. 

The planning and building of our community takes many people to give input on many different levels. There are several opportunities for our community to do so. Here are a couple of projects that the community is working on that you can weigh in on. 

Currently, the town is having an open comment period on the Land Use and Development Code (LUDC). It sounds technical, but it actually is about what our community looks and feels like. What do you want to see more or less of, what types of zoning should occur in different parts of town and standards for commercial and multifamily building, how do you protect your property rights while your neighbor’s property rights are respected, and more. How about parking — that affects our business community. We all want to comment after the decisions have been made, but what about while the decisions are being made.

The town is also looking at a public arts program. What does that involve: more art along the Riverwalk, in our parks, murals? What about streetscape such as benches, trash cans and dumpster screening? Should it be professional artists, a mix of professional and amateur artists, what about our youth? Both the LUDC update and the public arts program are asking for input. The best way to do this is through the town’s new website, www.mypagosa.org. These and other projects are listed on the site. Interested parties can register on the site and then log in to the project they would like to comment on and give their suggestions. 

Another topic near and dear to our hearts is water. We need it for our homes, for our businesses, for recreation, for agriculture. The Upper San Juan Watershed Enhancement Partnership will be holding a virtual public meeting on Wednesday, March 31, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. You can log onto the www.mypagosa.org website and click on the project link. You can also call into (253) 215-8782, meeting ID: 922 5511 4220, PC: 846881. After another mild winter, we need to be thinking about drought management, water usage, fire management and possible effects. Local leaders including Joe Crabb with the Colorado Division of Water Resources and Justin Ramsey with the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) will be presenting. PAWSD just adopted a new drought management plan. Do you know what that entails? There will also be modeling presentations by Cynthia Purcell with the San Juan Conservation District and Seth Mason with Lotic Hydrological. Join and share your feedback and see how we can turn these ideas into actions and projects. 

There are important decisions that are being made in our community. Are you just sitting on the fence watching it happen and then commenting on how it affected your home or business after the plans have been drawn up? It takes a village to run a village. Don’t sit on the sidelines. Let your voice and ideas be heard. Get engaged and be one of the voices that affects positive change in our community.

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