Baca Grande communicating through court


BACA GRANDE SUBDIVISIONS — The volunteer group pushing to create the Town of Baca Grande and the Baca Grande Property Owners Association have been communicating through the court system.

Operating independently from the Baca Grande POA, the volunteer group initiated the township effort when they filed a petition on Aug. 8. On Oct. 4, the Baca Grande POA filed a Motion to Intervene and a Motion to Dismiss with the Saguache County District Court. The court issued an order granting the Motion to Intervene and gave the township group until Oct. 21 to respond.

According to Desiree Marceau, a lead township volunteer, they responded by the Oct. 21 deadline. Before the group’s sixth information-sharing meeting on Oct. 24, Marceau confirmed receipt of the response. Now the Baca Grande POA representatives have until Nov. 4 to respond to the response.

“What happens after that,” Marceau explained on the Zoom call, “is the judge reviews everything and then she makes a final order.”

The chat scroll on the side of the Oct. 24 Zoom call echoed a deference to the legal system over direct communication. When one participant asked for clarification about a legal question, the responses deflected to court proceedings.

In response to the request for clarification, the audience was directed to request documents from the county court.

A participant asked, “So why your hesitancy to answer my question?” The response was “because, frankly, it doesn’t merit a response, the judge holds authority to make the decision and it won’t be made on Zoom.”

Casita Park, one of the five subdivisions that make up the Baca Grande, has an estimated 60 households. Some homes are vacation retreats, but more than half of the full-time residents work in or around Crestone. Spearheaded by long-time resident Colleen Bennett in the 1970s, Casita Park has accelerated community involvement in 2022.

In February, they formed the Casita Park Action Committee to address issues. In April, they canvassed the community to identify resident concerns. On Earth Day, they hosted a free trash day. Volunteers brought trucks for gathering refuse near the playground, and they drove to residents who couldn’t make it and picked up their trash.

In May, they conducted another cleanup operation and had a massive yard sale.

By the end of the summer, the Casita Park Action Committee worked with the Baca Grande POA to get a letter of support for a Saguache County sales tax grant. The money would allow them to resume watering the trees in the park, create shade, install benches, and plant more trees. In September, they hosted a huge harvest celebration for residents.

Now a half-century in existence, the Baca Grande POA has grown to more than 1,400 residents. The population of Crestone is less than 200. Crestone’s town budget is primarily funded through sales taxes, including taxes collected on e-commerce purchases from Baca Grande people who pick up their packages at the Crestone post office.

Until recently, Crestone paid the Baca Grande $200 a month to process the town’s waste through the Baca Grande Water and Sanitation District. Reportedly initiated in 2005, the agreement has been a bargain for the town.

Annexation with Crestone is unlikely, according to presenters, because of a power imbalance. If the communities combined, Baca Grande voters would substantially outnumber the Crestone voters.

Baca Grande POA administrators did not present or appear to be on the Oct. 24 township meeting ZOOM call, much like the absence of township volunteers at recent POA gatherings.

Residents and property owners attend what appear to be separate meetings between the POA and the volunteer group, who appear to communicate through the legal system instead of holding joint discussions.