Brighton Sunflowers. photo by Melissa Walker. 

The District Plan

Adams County & City of Brighton

Brighton, CO


Adams County and the City of Brighton respectively, have laid a foundation for farmland preservation south of Brighton along the US 85 corridor with the adoption of the Brighton South Sub-Area Plan in 2005 and more recently the adoption of the Adams County 2012 Comprehensive Plan which identified the District as an area ripe for opportunity and in need of further study. 

The District has a rich agricultural history, and many of the lands in this area continue to produce vegetables and fruits that are sold locally and regionally. The South Platte River traverses the western portion of this area while Second Creek and Third Creek cut through the area laterally. There is also an abundance of man-made ditches that have historically delivered water to area agricultural lands. Farm stands are common, and there could be an opportunity for small farms and cottage businesses to thrive and attract tourists to the area, similar to Palisade. However, the District’s proximity to the Denver metro area makes it a desirable location for development, and several larger parcels have already converted into business and residential uses. Furthermore, most landowners do not have a succession plan for farming and may be interested in selling for development, while some properties no longer have adequate water resources to support farming.

Two Forks Collective pooled the resources of Logan Simpson and Crossroads Resources to create a comprehensive planning document for both the City and the County that will guide future development, agricultural preservation and identify viable economic development possibilities related to agriculture. 

Two Forks Collective served as the project manager with the particular focus of stakeholder outreach, engagement and working with Crossroads Resources to apply their agricultural market study to applicable program and business development partnerships within the region. Our conversations with community members, farmers, landowners, quasi-governmental organizations and non-profit agencies helped identify core issues and key partners to help shape a realistic and tactical approach. In addition Two Forks Collective provided marketing tactics to help shape the public outreach communication strategies moving forward with the intent of attracting synergistic local business development opportunities.

Some components of the project included:

  • Working with a variety of different landowners inclusive of the City and County each of whom had different and sometimes conflicting agendas.
  • Developing a land plan with strategic conservation opportunities that married with future development while taking into account existing entitlements sufficient to meet market demand for the upcoming 20-30 years.
  • Helping the community understand the importance of a local food system by outlining what exists today and what could be incorporated to help agricultural preservation and create a more robust local food economy.
  • Identifying existing partners that can provide financial resources and programing to facilitate local food efforts.
  • Transforming a communities’ desire for agricultural preservation into a tactical steps with sound economics in mind.