From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 3, Number 47 - February 19, 2004
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Floodplains, waste pits of concern

by Cat Urbigkit

Sherry Kellen of Pinedale Preschool spoke with Sublette County Commissioners Tuesday about the possibility of purchasing the old Hi-Country Senior Citizens building once the new facility has been completed.

"It's a piece of junk," Commissioner Bill Cramer responded, maintaining that the building should be torn down.

Kellen said if enrollment continues the way that it is now, the preschool would need additional space. Kellen said if the county is interested in selling the building, she and her husband would be interested in purchasing it, with the intended use for preschool kids.

The commissioners discouraged the idea of selling the building, maintaining that it is too old and in too bad of shape.

"I just know we're in bad need of elbow room at the preschool," Kellen said.

"I just don't think that would be the solution for your problem," Cramer said, adding that the county should keep the property for future use.

The commission heard planning and zoning issues in the afternoon, with Sublette County Planner Jocelyn Moore presenting the final plat approval for Rusty Spur Ranches, which consists of four lots (averaging about four acres per lot) located just south of Pinedale. The commission approved the plat.

The commission considered Aaron Koch's application for a two-year conditional-use permit to construct a gravel pit on 8.5 acres owned by James Ranches Inc. near the Daniel junction. The commission approved the application.

Moore led the commission in a discussion of the county's floodplain program and its compliance with the federal floodplain program, which is now in the Office of Homeland Security.

The state now in five-year program to remap the entire state's floodplains, Moore said. But a recent review of the county's program came with the recommendation that if the county wants to stay in the program, "we've got to adhere to the requirements," Moore said.

The county needs to be able to assure that buildings are "built one foot above and out of the floodplains," Moore said.

If the county was to drop out of the program, floodplain insurance could be cancelled, and property owners may not be able to get a mortgage, Moore warned.

Moore said a state coordinator for the program suggested that the county either hire an inspector or ask the developer/builder to prove that they are not building in a floodplain. The commission didn't react favorably to the idea of an inspector. Daniel resident Bill Koch suggested that the inspections could be suitably done by the county sanitarian. The commission agreed.

Moore also led the commission in a talk about wastewater disposal pits in the county. She suggested that with the upcoming revision of the Pinedale Resource Management Plan and further industrial development, the need for the permits would increase.

"We could have potentially several hundred of these waste disposal pits," Moore said, suggesting that in the future, these pits are probably going to be located on private property.

Moore said currently there are four permitted pits in the county, some are conditional use pits, while in one case, it's addressed through zoning by being located in an industrially zoned area.

Moore said if further natural gas development results in the generation of 30,000 barrels of produced water a day, she would like to have a policy in place that addresses waste water disposal pits. She questioned whether the pits should be addressed through conditional use or zoning, and suggested that the zoning office be provided with an area map and proof of legal access to the property.

John James of Anticline Disposal disagreed with the projections for more pits, suggesting that "chances are, there won't be a lot of disposal pits."

James noted that permitting from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality is required for such facilities.

Moore asked the commission to consider whether these waste water pits should be forced into industrial areas.

The commission noted that the pits may have to be handled on a case-by-case basis, but also indicated that the pits are suitable for already existing industrial sites and outside of that zoning, conditional use permits should be required.

The last zoning item on the agenda was Moore's request for a six-month moratorium on applications for planned unit developments. She said with one application being received, it generated a great deal of concern. Moore said the planning commission would like to have time to study PUDs and what should be required. The county commission approved the moratorium, with only Cramer voting against it.

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