Local residents oppose Aspire land-use change

A drawing from the Chaffee County Planning and Zoning staff report shows the site plan proposed by Aspire Mountain Tours.

Aspire Mountain Tours LLC has applied for a land-use change permit to operate an outfitting business with cabins and a campground near the Las Colinas subdivision.

Local residents have expressed widespread opposition to the change, citing incompatibility with nearby neighborhoods.

The property consists of 44 rural-zoned acres adjacent to the Arkansas River at 11302 County Road 190W – a road neighbors say is not suitable for the increase in traffic that the business would generate.

More than 200 neighbors submitted comments to the county opposing Aspire’s proposed business operations. In addition to traffic concerns, residents worry about:

  • Impacts to residential wells.
  • Water contamination.
  • Dust pollution from traffic on unpaved roadways.
  • Noise and light pollution.
  • Increased wildfire risk.
  • Private property trespass.
  • Wildlife disturbance.
  • Decreased property values.

Kathrin Troxler of Wheatridge owns the land and co-owns Aspire Mountain Tours with Brian Erdner, also of Wheatridge.

In comments submitted to the county, neighbors point to activity at the property under Troxler’s ownership as cause for concern.

Mick Barry, who resides on CR 190W near Troxler’s property, cited two violations of the county fire ban in early April and another incident in 2019 that brought multiple Sheriff’s deputies to the property in response to a domestic issue involving a young woman and men working at the property.

According to the Planning and Zoning staff report, the proposed land-use change requires two limited impact reviews, one for an outfitting facility and one for a guest campground with cabins and tent sites, some of which would provide employee housing.

The Land Use Code allows approval of these land uses with a limited impact review on rural-zoned properties, but the full scope of the proposed land use points to limitations of the current code.

For example, documentation on the county website lists guest capacity at 68 people for 10 campsites and seven rental cabins. An employee cabin, a residence and an accessory dwelling unit brings the total occupancy to 84.

According to the Land Use Code, the same level of occupancy for a hotel or motel (10 rental rooms or more) requires a major impact review in the rural zone.

Additional proposed facilities include:

  • An outfitter post for gear storage, changing rooms, a sales office, a retail store and a community room.
  • Two “comfort stations” with occupancies of 47 and 30.
  • Two on-site wastewater treatment systems.
  • A “biodynamic” agritourism farm with a livestock barn and at least 1 acre of cropland.
  • An exempt domestic well.
  • An augmented commercial well.

Communications dated July 9 between Troxler and Chaffee County Planner Christie Barton mention the possibility of adding more camping at a later date, which would increase the occupancy and, therefore, the impacts to nearby properties.

The original staff report, dated July 1, states that the proposed land use should be “compatible with adjacent land uses” and not cause “significant adverse impact to adjacent land.”

Given the proximity to multiple residences, local residents insist that this condition cannot be met by a commercial enterprise of this type and scale.

A drawing from the Chaffee County Planning and Zoning staff report shows the site plan proposed by Aspire Mountain Tours.
Joe Stone