POA staff updates Baca Grande membership


BACA GRANDE SUBDIVISIONS — The Baca Grande Property Owners Association Board of Directors meeting on Nov. 17 drew a few members to the POA Hall and even fewer online.

Following agenda adjustments to start the proceedings, the scheduled October Financial Statements report from Fromm & Company didn’t happen. Instead, the board will hear a year-end summary during the next meeting in January. The board will skip December.

Community Manager Jay Walther rattled off 21 bullet items with help from staff members Shelly Saunders, Community Membership Services Manager, Debbie Oberhausen, Land Use Coordinator, and Land Use Manager Chris Whybrow.

From a total list of 225 open building permits, according to Whybrow, property owners initiated 121 projects in the first 10 months of 2022. These range from sheds and fences to housing construction for 44 residences. They granted 33 extensions, and they closed out 77 total permits for the year.

Emergency crews fielded six ambulance requests during the month. On Oct. 15, two department members attended special training in tactics for pediatrics.

On Oct. 17, staff demonstrated their new power-lift cot for board members from the foundation that donated $30,000 to procure the device. They also received a full tour of the ambulance and learned how rural emergency responses differ from urban calls. Crews had to rewire the rear light bar on one ambulance, and they will install newly arrived light covers soon.

Fire crew members attended three training sessions, received 19 “information pages,” and responded to one smoke report in October. Like the ambulance, the Baca Grande Brush Truck requires repairs. The noisy transmission hints at a potential third clutch-replacement.

Board member Claudia Wolfe inquired about attending Saguache County Commissioner meetings, prompting questions from other board members. What does a liaison do? Walther explained that a liaison does not speak for the board. Liaisons attend meetings and provide reports.

Lacking a liaison for Firewise projects, the preceding fire department report sufficed, as judged by designated chairperson Alison McClure. McClure ran the meeting because she was in the room and LeRoy West’s remote audio connection didn’t work. No one provided a report for the Nominating Committee. No one shed light on the Dark Skies Reserve initiative.

Senior board member Sugandha Brooks described the Safe Routes to School program run through the Colorado Department of Transportation. In Center, crews already completed construction for a pedestrian bridge in 2021 using funds from the same program. The Baca Grande trailblazing will begin in the spring of 2023.

Two community members contributed detailed presentations. A resident delivered a check for $4,200 to the POA this week, funds designated for cleaning up Casita Park. The grant money will cover the costs of removing old trees, planting new ones, and creating shade.

Grant-writer Maureen Eich VanWalleghan proposed three projects she could pursue. For a monthly stipend, VanWalleghan would begin by targeting grants to improve the Crestone Food Bank infrastructure, meet the fire department’s need for quickly refilling water tankers, and pursue funds to create community gardens and greenhouses on POA-owned lots.

Instead of a transactional proposal, VanWalleghan said, “I’m much more interested in asking, ‘how does the POA reposition itself to actually be a team player within a community, for its membership but also within the context of the county?’ To that end, I brought Mae [Lazy KV Estates HOA President] over to meet Jay.”

Before the board presented prizes through a random drawing to conclude the meeting, they were asked about the survey results from a questionnaire sent to all POA members. The survey is officially closed, and the results will be posted without changes on www.https://bacapoa.org/.

“I’m not editing it,” Walther explained. “I’m just taking the survey, downloading it into PDF with all the comments. Boom. Let the community see it. I closed the survey and said it would be posted by Thanksgiving.”

Apparently, some of the comments are critical. “It’s not rated G,” the Community Manager cautioned.

Other than one oblique reference to the township petition effort in court, the topic was not discussed.