Chaffee County Commissioners decided at their recent meeting to schedule the Nestlé Waters North America 1041 permit hearing at 5 p.m. Oct. 20 and 9 a.m. Oct. 22 at the Chaffee County Fairgrounds in Poncha Springs.
The Oct. 20 meeting will include presentations by Nestlé representatives and county staff, followed by public comments. The Oct. 22 meeting will provide an opportunity for additional members of the public to comment.
Individual comments will be limited to 3 minutes per person with no one allowed to yield their time to other speakers. However, commissioners reserve the right to question anyone commenting, which would be in addition to the 3-minute time limit.
Groups and agencies that would like more than 3 minutes for presentations will need to contact county staff in advance to discuss their needs and receive approval for extra time.
Commissioners discussed multiple options and contingencies for the hearing, focusing on allowing members of the public ample opportunities to express their opinions and concerns in an environment that follows COVID-19 public health guidelines.
Commissioners chose the fairgrounds as the best venue for the meetings because it will accommodate the most people. Following public health guidelines, the exhibit hall will accommodate 75 people, and the north building will accommodate 100 people.
The 175-person limit will include county officials, Nestlé representatives, press and members of the public. Presentations and in-person public comments will take place in the exhibit hall and will be broadcast to televisions in the north building.
Individuals who wish to comment will need to rotate in and out of the exhibit hall so that the meetings adhere to public health standards.
As with all recent county commissioners meetings, people will be able to attend the Nestlé hearing virtually via Zoom.