From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 2, Number 9 - May 30, 2002
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

The jail portion of the new courthouse wing is encroaching into the town's street, as would be the required fencing. The Pinedale Town Council will hold a special meeting Monday night to address the matter.
County building boondoggle

by Cat Urbigkit

The Sublette County Commission's courthouse complex construction project came under fire from the Pinedale Town Council Tuesday night when it was revealed that the project encroaches more than 12 feet into Mill Street and the county doesn't even have a building permit for the construction currently underway.

The council requested Texas architect Brad Waters appear before it at a special June 3 meeting and demanded that work within the area of encroachment cease and desist immediately and until the issue is resolved.

Sublette County Clerk Mary Lankford represented the county commission at the council meeting, explaining that the area of encroachment is 12-and a-half-feet wide by 191-feet long. The area includes part of the jail pod building and its associated security fencing.

Council member Barbara Boyce, who chaired the meeting in Mayor Rose Skinner's absence, questioned: "How did they get so far out of control? It makes me mad."

The wrath of the council was reserved for the construction architect. Boyce said, "It seems to me like this was a big enough boondoggle for him at least to have made an appearance here tonight."

There were two people in the audience who were recently elected to the council, but do not officially take office until the first council meeting in June: Miriam Carlson and Gary Heuck.

Heuck said if a private resident of Pinedale had done the same thing as the county, that resident would have been told to remove the encroachment.

"We're not going to do a double standard," Heuck said.

Carlson said: "I think they should conform to the building standards we have for everybody. I think they should move it." Heuck agreed.

Boyce said "it just astounds me" that the problem arose at all.

Councilman Jeffrey Reising asked if the encroachment occurred as a result of changes to the building plans "or bad planning ... or what?"

Lankford explained that some changes were made to the plans, the plans did show that a variance would be needed, but "no one made an application for a variance" and the problem came to light when town public works supervisor Ron Brown saw bricks being laid in the street.

Boyce said, "We should have had the opportunity to say no."

Lankford said, "We're at your mercy."

Boyce suggested the county be allowed to leave the building encroachment where it is, but deny the county the fence.

"I think that's just too much to ask," Boyce said. "I really do."

Reising pointed out that the fence is a requirement for security reasons involving prisoners.

Councilwoman Margaret Ann Holman said she wants the building architect to come before the council to explain what the options are to resolve the issue. She also proposed that construction work on that side of the building be halted until the council has the opportunity to meet with Waters.

"If he has to make a special trip, so be it," Holman said.

Carlson said, "Since they don't have a building permit, they should be required to stop anyway."

The council was unanimous in its move to halt construction within the encroachment area and request Waters to come to Pinedale for a special meeting. That special meeting has been scheduled for Monday, June 3 at 6:30 p.m.

Photo credits:  Delsa Allen

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