From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 2, Number 8 - May 23, 2002
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Nobles Get Zone Change

by Cat Urbigkit

Mark and Susan Noble were finally successful at getting their zoning district boundary change from agricultural to light industrial Tuesday, but not without two years of effort.

The Nobles brought a similar application to the county commissioners in July 2000, but acting against the recommendation of the county planning and zoning commission, the county commissioners rejected the proposal.

The Nobles proposed to rezone 12 acres of their agricultural land near the Pinedale Industrial Site to light industrial, while leaving another 40 acres they own in agricultural zoning. The purpose of the zoning change is so that the Nobles can operate and maintain their Noble Construction business at the site. They plan a 50-feet by 100-feet steel storage building, material storage and parking for equipment at the site, and have worked to screen the area from view.

County zoning administrator Joanne Garnett said the area in the vicinity of Noble's property has industrial, residential and agricultural properties.

If the county is successful in getting a new road across Doug Sterck's land into the Pinedale Industrial Site, Noble will shift his industrial vehicle use to the new road, Garnett said.

Garnett explained that the P&Z Commission sent a recommendation to the commission to approve the change.

But owners of residential property in the area expressed their opposition to the zone change. Harold Merritt said he does not oppose Noble operating his business from the site, but said the zone change could open the door to allowing up to 12 businesses at the site.

Garnett explained that under light industrial zoning regulations, up to one business per acre is allowed in a leasing or sub-leasing situation. So without any other public hearings or approval, 12 businesses could be operated from the property.

"For what it's worth, that's not my intention," Noble said.

Commission Chairman Bill Cramer said he understands the con cerns of local residents, but added that he likes the idea that the land abuts the existing industrial zoning area.

Commissioner Betty Fear agreed, stating, "I think it's pretty hard to argue against it."

Cramer said the road use may be an issue and asked Mark Noble if the county fails to get the road through Sterck's property, would Noble be willing to make a deal for a road. Noble said, "I don't favor the road through my property" since it isn't in compliance with his future plans for the land, including wetland enhancement.

Cramer suggested limiting Noble's development activities at the site, but Garnett reminded the commission, "You can't condition zone changes." Garnett said Noble could impose a deed restriction accomplishing the same thing.

"I wouldn't put a deed restriction on," Fear said, but Cramer said, "It's fair to ask right now because he doesn't have industrial zoning."

Having never been approached with the deed restriction idea, Noble rejected it at the meeting, telling the commission his proposal was as set forth in his application.

Fear expressed concerns about burdening property owners with regulations and "tying their hands" but Cramer said on the other hand, "know what the potential is for what you're approving."

Fear said there is a shortage of industrial acreage in the Pinedale area and Noble's application provides an opportunity to provide more of that type of zoning clustered with similar development.

Cramer asked Noble to agree to a deed restriction limiting the number of lots created on the property, but Mark Eatinger pointed out that if Noble wanted to sell lots, he would have to comply with subdivision requirements, including the public notice and hearing provisions.

"If the commission approves the 12-acre change, it's like creating 11 additional lots," Cramer said. "Now is the time to talk about it, not when the deed is done."

Noble said, "I'm not prepared to negotiate anything other than a zone change."

After more discussion, Fear made the motion to accept the zone change as proposed, but neither Cramer nor Commissioner Gordon Johnston would second the motion.

Johnston said, "I think there's too many things up in the air, especially with the Sterck road thing."

Cramer said realizing the potential for the creation of up to 12 sites, "I cannot second the motion either."

When the motion died to lack of a second, Cramer told Noble, "You have the opportunity to address the issue if you choose to do so."

Noble asked for 10 minutes to confer outside the room with his attorney Doug Mason. When they returned to the room, Noble had Mason present his offer to deed-restrict the property to a maximum of three four-acre parcels for lease or sublease. It was noted the deed restriction ties future property owners as well as Noble, and limits the use of the property to up to three businesses, eliminating the potential of 12.

Johnston suggested Fear make her motion again. Fear did so, but added the deed restriction proposed by Noble. Johnston seconded the motion, which passed with a unanimous vote.

"I think that was a generous compromise that Mark has offered," Fear said.

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