Historic Splendid Valley: Preserving Farmland in Adams County and Brighton

We are coming up on five years since the approval of the District Plan, a joint plan adopted in 2016 by Adams County and the City of Brighton focused on the south Brighton agricultural area, now called Historic Splendid Valley. This award-winning plan was put together in response to ongoing public support for preserving valuable farmland and heritage, building on policies laid out in previous land use, and open space plans spanning more than 20 years.

The many action items in the District Plan fall under one of three overarching goals:

  • Preserve agricultural land
  • Encourage local food production and consumption
  • Promote agritourism

As we approach the five-year mark of working on the plan, here is an update on progress made on the first goal, preserving farmland. Historic Splendid Valley is home to acres of land designated by the United States Department of Agriculture as prime farmland. This is land that has been farmed for decades and continues to produce vegetables, fruits, nursery crops, and other products for local consumption and distribution regionally and nationally. While farmland is being lost at alarming rates across the country, Adams County and the City of Brighton have recognized the benefits of preserving these lands locally. These benefits include access to fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables, realizing our vision of a standalone city surrounded by open space and farmland, and tourism related to visiting some of our local farms.

Since the adoption of the District Plan, approximately 264 acres of land have been preserved with the associated water rights. That brings the total farmland preserved in Historic Splendid Valley to about 445 acres. This is made up of both acquired lands that the county or city lease to local farmers and privately owned properties protected through conservation easements. Competitive grants, including the Adams County Open Space Sales Tax program, and key partnerships have made these successes possible and have helped to ensure that our heritage and community values are reflected into the future.

To learn more about Historic Splendid Valley and the implementation of the District Plan, you can visit brightonco.gov/SplendidValley