Chaffin/Light is proud to be widely hailed as a leader in large scale sustainable development, which includes planning low-density communities focused on preserving nature and open spaces. The hallmarks of sustainable development include permanently dedicating a substantial portion of land for open space and trails, then protecting these uses by conservation easements and/or deed covenants.
The brainchild of Jim Chaffin, and Jim Light in 1978, this concept revolutionized the community development industry while also creating authentic, organic, and original communities in sought-after natural environments. Chaffin/Light pioneered this concept at Spring Island near Beaufort, South Carolina, and has continued to create communities with world-class golf and other amenities that also enable the majority of the land to continue to sustain itself without interruption.
Livable communities and vibrant resorts require a wide range of “affordable” and “work force” housing to attract and retain service workers, professionals, and even owners of small businesses who provide services to the resorts. With considerable experience from their East Coast days, in 1978 Jim Chaffin and Jim Light embraced the unique opportunities in Snowmass Village and committed to build one affordable unit for every four free market units. Most importantly, Chaffin/Light incorporated these affordable units into the free market neighborhoods. Creekside offered both for-sale condominiums and rental apartments operated by the Town’s Housing Authority. Villas North added rentals. And Fairway Three, located on the third hole of the golf course, offered thirty for-sale townhouses to working professionals. By working closely with the elected officials in the new Town, Chaffin/Light built more affordable housing in the first year than Pitkin County had built in the previous ten years.
When the Town of Basalt annexed the Roaring Fork Club property in 1997, the Club voluntarily built staff housing and committed some of the apartments to the Town’s critical personnel, including police officers. In 2015, working with Ironbridge Golf and Mountain Community, Garfield County and the Roaring Fork School District, housing was built for teachers.
What has previously been a challenge to developers of new resorts and communities is now a critical need for businesses and communities across the US. The lessons Chaffin/Light learned include the importance of an open book approval and a cooperative relationship with the governing bodies to avoid unnecessary and expensive approval processes.
In both the Rocky Mountains and the South Carolina Low Country, Jim Chaffin and Jim Light have been active participants and leaders in environmental, cultural, and human impact organizations in the greater communities in which their projects evolved.
Early on, Jim Chaffin and Jim Light sought the opportunity to identify and weave the different threads that make up the “tapestry of community” in each of their communities by becoming involved in local non-profit organizations.