CRESTONE — The Baca Grande Property Owners Association meeting on Feb. 18 drew a couple dozen members interested in the strategic plan for handling the community’s growth spurt.
Despite shutdowns throughout the economy in 2020, the Baca Grande recorded 34 housing starts during the year. Real estate listings continue to come and go quickly, according to realtors.
The Baca Grande Property Owners Association website (https://bacapoa.org/) provides information for curious online visitors and secure access for members. Building projects follow strict guidelines in addition to county regulations. After decades of development, the association provides clear guidelines for construction and compliance with covenants over time.
The strategic planning meeting represented nothing new. Rather, Executive Director Kevin Flewell worked with consultants to consolidate documentation created and updated over the years. On a one-page graphic, Flewell identified seven focus areas, each with corresponding objectives, strategies and action items.
Attached at the hip with Crestone, the Baca Grande collects the highest taxes in Saguache County, primarily to fund special districts. However, subsidized housing is not available, and the cost of living is higher than other parts of the San Luis Valley. With the lowest prices averaging $350,000, according to Flewell, housing is a challenge for residents and builders alike.
In addition to an elected Board of Directors, paid staff work emergency services, facilities and administration. Volunteers run three association committees, and other members commit to the community. Their volunteer Search and Rescue participation has the highest percentage in Colorado. One member donated $500 on a Zoom call to achieve matching funds for the POA. So, when the time for member comments and questions came at the close of Flewell's meeting, participants shared their passion.
First off, many members said they preferred being called “members.” More than one asked for a definition of “stakeholder,” and others said they own property but consider themselves community members before property owners.
Maintaining long-term personal relationships with county administrators, Crestone town staff, school district leaders and neighbors echoed through the member comments, too. Some participants on the call said that receiving information like the one-page strategic plan is helpful, but face-to-face communication yields greater understanding.