The time is now to help influence the future of mid-Roaring Fork Valley |

The time is now to help influence the future of mid-Roaring Fork Valley

Eagle County goes beyond regular avenues to collect input

A view of the mostly wide open spaces of the valley floor from the Glassier Trail in August 2020.
Scott Condon/The Aspen Times

If Basalt and El Jebel residents want to influence the character and growth of Eagle County portion of the Roaring Fork Valley in coming years, now is their time to seize the opportunity.

Eagle County is using a 21st century process to collect input from its residents. Rather than subject people to long, laborious meetings where they listen for hours in order to give three minutes of input, the county is going higher tech with its Vista project. County residents are being urged to provide words and images online. They can also arrange to have moderators come to them for small-group, story-telling sessions.

“At its core, what Vista really is is about community involvement,” said Angelo Fernandez, the county’s chief cultural officer and a deputy manager.

Basalt Councilman Glenn Drummond is a member of the Vista Stewardship Team, a cross section of people designed to ensure all segments of the community get a voice in the process. At a recent council meeting, he urged midvalley residents to contribute to Vista.

“It’s a great opportunity for this side of the valley to give input to Eagle County,” he said.

The information collected through Vista will be used to help create the Eagle County Comprehensive Plan, which influences the type and pace of growth, housing, management of natural resources, transportation and infrastructure.

When residents don’t get involved, there are consequences. Eagle County worked on a specific master plan for the Roaring Fork Valley during the recession that started in 2008. The process didn’t attract much attention or interest because many people were scrambling to find or retain work as well as avoid foreclosure of their houses. Paid representatives of major landowners and developers dominated the hearings. That led to a plan that paved the way for high-density projects such as the Tree Farm and potentially The Fields.

Fernandez said the Vista process is intended to attract more widespread input.

“What we’re trying to do is bring the process to the public,” he said.

There is a dedicated website at that includes an online survey that takes a “broad initial swipe” on community values, he said.

The first question asks, “What is your greatest hope for the future of our community?’

The next asks, “What is your greatest concern for the future of our community?”

The third asks, “What do you love most about living in our community.”

The information collected will be used to help mold the comprehensive plan, according to the Vista website. Fernandez stressed that county staff and consultants don’t want to “take the information, disappear and draw up a plan.” It will be incorporated into the comprehensive plan and people will be given opportunities for additional participation.

The comprehensive plan is currently on track to be updated in spring 2022. The information collected will also be used to help recover from COVID-19 with a more resilient economy and create equitable access for all people for access to government.

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