Chaffee county is restricting all citizens property rights due to one isolated incident

As a horse and landowner in Chaffee County I am very worried about actions our County Officials are taking which could affect all county horse and livestock owners. The removal of our property rights as county landowners should be alarming to everyone regardless of your political affiliation or feelings on this ongoing issue. If you are a stable owner, rancher, or horse hobbyist, or just a property owner concerned about your property rights, this precedence of overreaching county restrictions on horse owners due to one isolated neighbor dispute should terrify you.

Neighbors of Alison Brown lobbied the county staff to declare her horse stables and kennels an “Outfitting Facility” because they didn’t like her dogs and the horse trailer traffic. Although the dogs have been moved, the County is still insisting that Alison get a permit as an Outfitting Facility and they received a Court order to prevent her from using her horses for “riding out or hunting with foxhounds on public land with any individuals who are not affecting substantial control over the foxhounds”. Alison Brown is no longer conducting any “fox hunting” from her property but is merely stabling and riding horses on her property with friends. Tonight’s hearing will be for a Limited Impact Review to grant her a permit to allow her friends to use her horses to ride with the foxhounds on public land, whether she rides them in the county or not. If this passes there will certainly be more expensive lawsuits against the county that we citizens will pay for.

Magistrate Hunter granted the County’s injunction against Alison Brown, but pointed out that the County’s interpretation of their Land Use Code was so broad that they could require a permit from even a grandfather taking his grandson out riding under their “Outfitting facility” regulation. The staff report is recommending as conditions for approval of an “Outfitting Facility” permit that one would have to get a Commercial well, purchase water augmentation, get commercial building permits for your horse barns and get a commercial road access permit. These conditions would counter both Chaffee County building codes, which does not require building permits for agricultural structures and State policy which permits augmented wells to be used for watering livestock, which is considered an incidental commercial use even for ranch or farms where animals are being raised commercially.

If you are concerned about your rights to keep, board, ride and loan out your horses to friends, family and clients without having to get a commercial well, augmentation certificates, commercial road permits and building permits and don’t want the county tell you who can or can’t use your horses, it is imperative that you contact the County Planning Commission members Mike Allen, Dan McCabe, Karin Adams, Rob Treat, Tracy Vandaveer, Bruce Cogan, Bill Baker, Marjo Curgus or Joe Stone and please attend the meeting on Monday November 5th at 104 Crestone Avenue at 5:30 pm and make your concerns known.


  • And so it begins. The powers that be, have marketed this place to death, Wendell Prior says "we've been found" apparently believing his efforts, and those of Monarch, Mt. Princeton hot springs and the Chaffee visitors bureau to have no effect at all, but I disagree. A good deal of the populace wants to profit in their own way, from this marketing, and at the same time, keep their own special section of the county, so things, for them anyway, won't change.

    I watched this all happen in Summit County almost 20 years ago, the exact same thing, the marketing geniuses spun their yarns, published the photos of scenic vistas, and issued forth the ubiquitous "Visitors / Cycling / tourism guides, and guess what ? They came, en masse, searching for the perfect trophy home / perfect "Me first" activity, cause they had "found" this wonderful town, and were now going to change it to suit their particular tastes, make it "Just like home".

    Enter the Big Bad Gubbermint, forced into action, any action, in an attempt to regulate, enforce and otherwise ensure that all the ducks in the pond are equally regulated for the benefit of everyone else in the county. Got to keep control, and the masses kept in their places, lawsuits, restrictions, covenants, zoning, all tools to ensure regulation and compliance.

    This all comes at a cost, and the cost is never higher for the folks that are displaced, and lose their freedom to accommodate the few that wish it to be "Just like home" . If you don't attend these meetings now, and truth be told it could already be too late, complacency will assure you that in the not too distant future, Chaffee County will look just like Summit County, albeit more crowded. Imagine, "Welcome to Salidathorne" or "Buena Frisco".

    Except for the various horse concessions, there really aren't any animals there any more... Sad, as it was a really sweet place back in the 80's. Now it almost looks like a suburb, replete with the utterly worthless traffic clogging "roundabouts".

  • It would be most unfortunate if we had to get a permit every time we took our horse out for a ride.
    But as Marshall states above, this bucolic little valley we call home is getting more populated and we're gonna run into each other more.. I've been here 25+ years because it's beautiful, has great weather and interesting people. I was in Boulder, and I won't apologize for 'steppin' up' for a better place. Anyone who's reading this likely did the same, or else they were born here and realized everywhere else was a step down...
    I've had neighbors like Alison Brown. Maybe their brains just work different and they can tune out the sound of dogs barking. Not sure how that works. But those of us who want to hear the breeze or the silence, birds chirping or our own music in our own immediate surroundings--without the sound of dogs barking in the distance--also have that right. Again, it's a bummer if a law restricts good people because one person's behavior caused a huge uproar, but I can vouch for 90% of my friends: we do not want to hear someone elses dogs barking. And I don't care if you own 100 acres. Your rights stop where my (nose) ears begins!

  • For the record, though I do not believe in hunting fox, and I do not believe in misuse of a rotten farm law to get away with abusing neighbors, or manipulating any law to get away with corrupting it's intent, I do believe that Alison Brown's rights were violated in the county's treatment of her and her case and are at fault for lack of investigation and planning required to allow her in the first place. I believe in honesty, integrity, and doing the right thing and that is no longer what you will get in this county. There is no integrity or doing the right thing as we have found with our personal experience in our home with the county and Salida making our home of 30 years unlivable with noise due to the greed of an Anheuser-Busch heir's polluting pot complex near us and here only to exploit the area for profit. They did not consider at all the environmental impact of a power hungry, thirsty, light polluting grow's 24/7 impact. Their response is to put us off terminally thus taking away my will to live after 6 months of no sleep from another result of the county's not properly investigating what they allow and costing locals quality of life or violating their rights knowingly then inviting them to sue as they did with a law disallowing 2 people to talk together on the sidewalk in front of their own homes without being called a gang in the tiny town that had none. I guess that the powers that be decided that Brown's Dogs did not fit in with their gentrification agenda and angered too many rich people. They need to fix the rules, not punish the people.

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