County approves Aspire campground, outfitting facilities

A herd of pronghorn antelope uses the Aspire property to access its primary water source, the Arkansas River.

During their Tuesday meeting, Chaffee County Commissioners decided to uphold Planning Commission approval of the Aspire Tours application for a land-use change permit that will allow construction and operation of a campground, cabins and an outfitting facility. The decision included minor modifications to the 41 conditions previously imposed by the Planning Commission.

Prior to deliberations, commissioners and county attorneys discussed a letter submitted by legal counsel for citizens opposed to the development.

The letter outlines two issues: procedural problems with the land-use hearings, including inequitable time restrictions placed on opponents, and what the opponents believe is failure of the applicant to meet the requirements for approval of a limited impact review, including issues related to water use and traffic.

Speaking on Behalf of Aspire Tours, attorney Eric Stein of Cortez responded to public comments from opponents to the commercial development, which will be located in the rural zone between the Arkansas River and County Road 190W. Stein insisted that opposition comments were incorrect.

During deliberations, Commissioner Keith Baker asked if Aspire plans to launch or recover rafts at the property.

Conditions imposed by the Planning Commission prohibit launching boats or taking them out at the property, but property owner Kathrin Troxler said Aspire-led rafting tours might stop at the property for lunch, suggesting a loophole in this condition.

Aspire representatives indicated they expect 42 vehicle trips per day to and from the property, including trips by employees.

Baker expressed reservations about the Aspire Tours proposal, emphasizing water and traffic issues, but conceded that the current Land Use Code allows the commercial operations proposed by Aspire. He suggested adding a condition to limit traffic to and from the property, but county legal counsel expressed reservations about the idea.

With approval by the County Commissioners, opponents will need to file a lawsuit if they choose to continue to their efforts to prevent the Aspire development.

Previous coverage

County Commissioners hear appeal of Aspire land-use decision

Chaffee Planning Commission approves Aspire campground, outfitting facility

Deliberations lead to findings but no decision in Aspire land-use hearing

Aspire claims ‘misunderstandings’ as opponents raise issues

Aspire Tours land-use application proposes illegal water use

A year later, Aspire land-use hearing continues; neighbors still opposed

Local residents oppose Aspire land-use change

Joe Stone