From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 4, Number 7 - May 13, 2004
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Antelope corridor main topic at Pinedale council meeting

by Rhonda Swain

The Pinedale Town Council barely had a quorum for its meeting Monday night, with Mayor Rose Skinner and Councilperson Miriam Carlson absent because of illness. Councilperson Barbara Boyce filled in as mayor pro-tem in Skinner's absence. Although there were only three council members, 20 others attended, including a number of concerned citizens.

One of the first orders of business was approving Public Works Department Head Ron Brown hiring a total of three more people for parks and maintenance for the summer.

Lieutenant Bardy Bardin of the Sublette County Sheriff's Office updated the council on SCSO activities. He said they were down three officers last month, but the number will grow to five by June. Deputy Scott Winer recently resigned, and one more will be leaving in June.

Bardin said three more officers will be on the force shortly: one former officer returning from Powell, Luigi Heydt and another officer from Utah. Heydt will attend the Law Enforcement Academy in Douglas after he joins the force.

Mayor's Assistant Ward Wise advised the council that as the town looks at higher density development, maybe it should consider updating the building code, last revised in 1997.

Bonnie Chambers of the Pinedale Planning and Zoning Board and Rio Verde Engineering's Mark Eatinger addressed the council about P&Z matters.

First on the list were LWI Investment's preliminary plat application for Favazzo West Subdivision and an annexation proposal for the South Barber Creek Development. Favazzo West was originally annexed into the town about a year ago, but has come under the scrutiny of groups concerned about the antelope migration corridor.

Although she said the half road tying into another proposed subdivision was a concern in the Favazzo request, Chambers advised the council that P&Z recommended passing both requests.

Several in attendance voiced concern about the antelope corridor, including the Wyoming Game and Fish Department's Bernie Holz. He told the council that the corridor will be blocked with approval by the council of the motion on the floor to approve the Favazzo plat.

"We're eliminating our options one at a time," he said in reference to the corridor.

Eatinger said the area west of town is the "logical growth pattern for the town."

Kunard said she is concerned about all the little subdivisions all over the county putting in sewers and water wells, and asked, "Will turning down these two (subdivisions) assure they have a route?"

Heuck spoke of the annexation a year ago, saying, "As far as I'm concerned, the game and fish dropped the ball then."

He said he is sympathetic to the antelope, "But I think they'll find another corridor," he added.

Armond Acri of the Wyoming Wildlife Federation read a letter from the WWF to the council about the continued loss of wildlife habitat in the western portion of Wyoming.

"In light of our grave concern about the issue of wildlife migration corridors, the WWF wants to take this opportunity to express its opposition to the proposal by the city of Pinedale to annex and develop a 28-acre parcel just west of the city of Pinedale. This parcel is crucial to the seasonal movement of more than 300 antelope and its annexation and development will result in the complete loss of an important migration corridor," Acri read.

The letter stated that if the council authorized the development, WWF suggested developers and future homeowners utilize wildlife friendly fencing and other techniques to facilitate wildlife movement.

Resident Linda Baker urged the council to consider in the future how not to come to such a "hard decision."

Marissa Martin of the Wyoming Outdoor Council also opposed the developments and encouraged setting up a working group, maybe modeled after the Trapper's Point Working Group, to balance the needs of migration, oil and gas, and develoment."

Another resident, Bev Sharp, agreed with the other antelope proponents, urging the council to consider giving more time.

Lauren McKeever of Upper Green River Valley Coalition also opposed the development.

Tim Bohan, who was on hand with a proposal of his own, said the antelope issue is part of the big picture.

"If you don't attempt to put people where the water and sewers are, we'll wind up with a bigger mess," he said.

Holz said although it was "too late on the Favazzo subdivision to do anything, hopefully it's not on this one (South Barber Creek)."

He also requested that WG&F get together with the planning and zoning boards and the town council to discuss growth of the town and how to deal with the migration corridor.

"All we ask for is a chance to work with you folks ... and for more time. ..." he said.

Martin suggested looking into a land swap to preserve the corridor, speaking of the Green River Valley Land Trust, Shell and EnCana, saying energy companies have money for projects just like this.

In the end, the council approved the preliminary plat for Favazzo West Subdivision, but tabled the South Barber Creek Annexation. Heuck recused himself from voting on the South Barber Creek proposal because he is a sub-contractor to one of the developers.

Bohan's request for a 24-foot setback variance in the Triangle Addition was approved after considerable discussion. Bohan is proposing to build two town houses of four units each. The council stipulated that the variance be approved by a fire marshal.

J&L Ventures request for a 20' .78" variance was granted in the Redstone area.

With all the multi-plex units being proposed, Chambers advised the council to look into stipulating that plans be drawn up by licensed architects for future units, with the costs borne by the developer.

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