From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 3, Number 14 - July 3, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Develop meadows or migration routes?

by Cat Urbigkit

Mark Eatinger took time Tuesday afternoon to visit with the Sublette County Commission and inquire where in the county the commission feels would be appropriate for two-acre development tracts.

Eatinger, as a representative of Rio Verde Engineering, has represented developers applying for subdivisions including two-acre lots, and who had those projects denied by the county commissioners, even though the county planning and zoning commission recommended the projects be approved. The latest developments were proposed by the Espenscheids and the Richardsons and both were located near Pinedale.

"I don't know the rules to play by," Eatinger said, adding that he was trying to get a feel for what the commission wants.

Commissioner Bill Cramer said, "I'll say to you there are no rules," to which Eatinger responded, "And I'll say to you, b.s."

Cramer said, "Everything in Sublette County is currently zoned. Everything else that comes in is requesting a change," adding that the commission is not obligated to approve such a change. He said while the P&Z serves a purpose, there are times he'll disagree with their recommendation, as in the 4-0 recommendation to approve the Espenscheid development.

Commissioner Betty Fear said, "My question then is why have a zoning board?"

Cramer responded, "Most of the time I agree, but I am not a rubber-stamper."

Commission Chairman Gordon Johnston said areas of the county where 2-acre lots are not appropriate include wildlife migration routes. He said some development projects "lock my jaws" because of their importance, such as that on Beaver Ridge, known as the Aspen Ridge development.

Other areas that may not be appropriate include ridge tops and meadows, Johnston said. "There are places that I don't think a little village is appropriate ... putting a little town out there is wrong."

Eatinger said that still doesn't answer the question. "The BLM is down here and the Forest Service is up there and we're stuck in the middle," Eatinger said.

Johnston said one area where he feels Pinedale could expand into would be the hay meadows on the ranch formerly owned by Eddie Steele.

Fear said, "I though that's what we wanted to protect."

Johnston said if he had the choice between building in a hay meadow or a migration route, "I'd say build it on the hay meadow."

Cramer said, "In my opinion, there has been more changes in this area (Pinedale) in the last three years than there has been in the last 30 years."

Cramer said in his view, P&Z should assess this issue and provide a recommendation for the county commissioners to consider, rather than continuing with the issue on a case-by-case basis.

Eatinger said something needs to be done because the developers and planners "can't read your minds."

Cramer said, "What you're asking for is approval before the fact," adding that he is "not going to be pressured into giving my approval, nilly-willy."

Cramer said while he feels Eatinger has a valid point, the P&Z commission should tackle the issue first.

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