How Can I Help?

The replacement of the revised Land Use Code has been our top priority. However, this problem runs deeper than most of us realize…

We have outlined four major goals

  1. Planning the Land Use Code
  2. Involvement in Essential Public Servies (LPEA)
  3. Public Involvement and Attendance on Boards and Committees
  4. Voting for Commissioners by District



Get involved in the Planning Process-

The Problem and the Process; What the LPLC suggests…   SLIDE DECK

READ THE PROPOSED LAND USE CODE   Module 1 available to download HERE

KNOW YOUR DISTRICT    Below are two maps of the Commissioner and Planning Districts in La Plata County.


ATTEND DISTRICT MEETINGS   We cannot overstate the importance of this. Point of Contact for each Planning District can be found HERE or check our CALENDAR


STAY ACTIVE     We got into this mess because of complacency. Without a strong, and united voice at County and District meetings, our desires will not be heard, our needs will be disregarded, and ultimately, our rights will be taken.

If you are unhappy with the planning process you can also contact your County Officials:

  • Jason Meininger     Planning Director:

phone- (970) 382-6263



  • Gwen Lachelt      District 2 (Central La Plata County), BOCC chair:

phone- (970) 382-6215

email contact


  • Julie Westendorff     District 3 (Eastern La Plata County):

phone- (970) 382-6217

email contact


  • Brad Blake     District 1 (Western La Plata County), BOCC Vice Chair

phone- (970) 382-6216

email contact

Essential Public Servies (LPEA)

Several key issues for our future are currently being debated at various public service entities. In particular, the La Plata Electric Association.

The Problem…    A coordinated, and sustained effort by special interest groups have focused attention on the LPEA Board and the direction in which it will take.

One of their primary goals has been to push for a break of the long-term contract LPEA has with Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association. Simply breaking this contract could cost the local energy cooperative upwards of $600 million…

READ THAT AGAIN– Breaking the contract with Tri-State could cost the LPEA $600 million.

On January 16, 2018, the LPEA voted in favor of creating a sub-committee tasked with evaluating  “the value of LPEA’s long-term contract with primary power supplier, Tri-State Generation and Transmission.” If this effort is not met with a strong voice of opposition, it could lead to:

  • Unreliable power availability
  • Higher electric rates for all consumers
  • Decrease of economic development
  • Higher cost-of-living for all county residents
  • Less assets available for infrastructure maintenance and development

The special interests groups involved want to break this contract in order to make LPEA’s power sourced from 100% renewables. As noble as this venture may sound, there are several key facets to the problem to consider:

  • The power currently being purchased from Tri-State is already 30% renewable
  • Tri-State is the #1 generator and transmitter of solar power in the country
  • Tri-State is working to be more environmentally friendly, including the recent closing of a nearby coal powered electrical plant, and two more scheduled to close in the near future
  • Local Infrastructure for 100% renewable does not exist
  • Currently, LPEA  buys back renewables from local sources- which can only provide 4.5% of total supply needed
  • The lines and transit equipment being used by LPEA are owned by Tri-State- a break in the contract would force LPEA to pay retail price on use of these lines and transmitters
  • Lines and transmission are federally regulated, cost associated with liability and compliance to these regulations is currently mitigated by Tri-State- without Tri-State, the LPEA would be forced to foot the bill on this also
  • Did we mention the break will cost $600 million?

Proponents of the contract break point to other cities to use as example, such as Boulder. BUT…

  • The cost for Boulder to set up their own municipal electric utility has been estimated to be at more than $800 million
  • Will Toor, Mayor of Boulder at the time, now regrets the decision
  • Citizens of Boulder have had to endure unreliable power, a sustained legal battle, AND exorbitant rate increases

Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (Taos and surrounding area) has also been singled out, as they recently broke their contract with Tri-State. BUUUT…

  • The cost to break their contract was only $37 million
  • Taos residents have already had 3 rate increases since the contract was broken in June of 2016
  • More rate increases are expected
  • Customers of the Kit Carson Co-op have suffered serious issues regarding unreliable power

The special interests groups involved have made a well-funded and coordinated effort, relying on a public that is uneducated on the issues, and who show low participation rates in meetings and elections

  • The breaking of the LPEA contract is a Board Decision and will not be put to a vote by customers
  • Many county residents do not even know the names of their District Representatives on the LPEA Board
  • Typical LPEA elections have a meager 25% participation rate
  • Special interest groups pay staff members to attend and speak out in LPEA Board Meetings that are open to the public

Under the mantle of “non-profits” the San Juan Citizens Alliance and others have used vast resources to undermine and discredit fiscally responsible avenues for the LPEA. The San Juan Citizens Alliance has even gone as far as to financially support and pledge future financial support of any LPEA Board Member or candidate who provides assurance that their views align with that of the SJCA.

What to do… The good news is, the power is still in our hands

  • Visit the LPEA website and educate yourself on the issues
  • Attend LPEA Board Meetings and voice your concern about the possible contract break with Tri-State
  • Contact your District Representatives on the LPEA Board and tell them to instead support policies that will help encourage Tri-State to become more environmentally friendly.
  • Tell your friends and neighbors about these issues and get them involved
  • And most importantly… Vote in the upcoming LPEA election


Involvement and Attendance on Boards and Committees

BAD NEWS- due to complacency by the vast majority of citizens, several board, commissions, and committees have had their ranks filled with people who serve and/or align with special interest groups, do not place emphasis on individual liberty, and do not have the best interest of all citizens in mind.

GOOD NEWS- a vast majority of these boards and committees are volunteer based

Find the issues that are important to you and take part in the civic discussion. Also, if you or someone you know has talent or expertise in a certain area, GET INVOLVED!!

Boards and committees include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Board of Adjustment
  • Board of Appeals
  • Community Corrections Board
  • Citizens Review Panel for Child Welfare Grievances
  • Durango Hills Road Improvement District Advisory Committee
  • Durango-La Plata County Airport Commission
  • Durango Public Library Extension Advisory Committee
  • Fire Code Board of Appeals
  • Fire Code Adoption & Revision Commission
  • Historic Preservation Review Commission
  • Planning Commission
  • Living with Wildlife Advisory Board
  • Lodging Tax Panel
  • Long Term Finance Committee
  • Multi-Event Center Task Force
  • Pine River Public Library District Board
  • Pine River Cemetery District Committee
  • Southwest Region 9 Workforce Board
  • Southwestern Water Conservation District Board
  • Undesirable Plant & Rodent Advisory Commission
  • Lake Durango Water Authority (must be a customer of LDWA)

    If the issues that concern you are not listed, visit the County Website or Contact Us for more information

    City of Durango Boards and Committees can be found HERE

    To see which BOCC member is in charge of what Committee go HERE



    Voting for Commissioners by District-

    The Problem…

    La Plata County is comprised of 3 voting districts. However, the election of County Officials is based on State Law that allows “at-large” voting. This method is based purely on popular vote.

    Counties with populations of more than 70k residents can choose to “vote by district.” Since La Plata County has yet to meet this threshold, citizens are left feeling disenfranchised, railroaded, and unheard when their concerns have been voiced. In particular, eastern La Plata County- District 3

    Since 1988, the Commissioner elected to represent District 3 has not won a majority of votes in their home district. Citizens in Bayfield, Ignacio, and other areas wish to have a voice at the table. Yet, this is not permissible under the current system. This happens in counties all across Colorado, in fact, the majority of counties in Colorado have populations less than 70k…


    UPDATE- After passing the Senate on a bi-partisan vote, Senate Bill 18-221 was defeated by a 5-4 vote in the House Committee

    Conservation Colorado and several other activist groups showed disdain for the voice of the people once more when the testified against SB18-221

    Thank you to everyone that tried.

    We will fight this battle again….

    Remember- As friends and neighbors, we can stand together. We should be united in promoting Liberty. And our voices WILL be heard…