From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 7, Number 22 - August 23, 2007
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Sewage facility, sanitary landfill are ‘similar'

by Joy Ufford

At last Thursday’s regular meeting, Sublette County Planning and Zoning (P&Z) commissioners discussed a request to determine if a sewer lagoon/treatment facility is “similar use” to a sanitary landfill.

Stallion Oilfield Services requested the P&Z determination so the company can look for appropriately zoned land on which to build a sewer lagoon or treatment facility that will serve its man camps, said owner David Ramage.

His brother, James Ramage of Valley West Engineering, said that his brother had called asking where a sewage facility “could be done,” he said. After looking through county regulations and not finding a facility of that kind listed for any zoning districts, Ramage took the next step and contacted county P&Z.

Planning Director Bart Myers told commissioners that sanitary landfills are a conditional use in Agricultural, Light Industrial and Heavy Industrial zone districts.

Myers asked that the commissioners find the determination of “similar use” so sewer treatment facilities can also be located in those zoning districts.

“It’s just a consideration at this point,” James Ramage told the P&Z board. “They’re trying to find out where it would be allowed in this county.”

Brother David said that his company provides actual man camps and currently trucks sewage “just from the living quarters” to a private lagoon near Marbleton/Big Piney. They want to find a solution that “willwork for the municipality and the oilfield.”

The amount he will need to dump and/or treat daily is about 50,000 gallons, equivalent to about 75 households. Ramage said there would be no discharge from a sewage-treatment facility because a lagoon is lined with a permanent synthetic liner approved by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ ). In the summer, an evaporation pond would be used and sludge would then be cleaned or buried.

Stallion Oilfield Services is looking for a future site of 15 to 20 acres on which to build its facility in an agricultural or uninhabited area, close to Marbleton or Big Piney, but doesn’t plan to buy the property. “We’re just looking at if it’s possible to do,” Ramage said. “Now at least we can start looking.”

The board made and approved a motion of determination that a sewer treatment facility or sewer lagoon is a “similar use” ton a sanitary landfill.

Other business before the Sublette County P&Z Board:

•Approval was recommended for Craig Scarf’s request for a variance allowing a 35-foot setback on his 80-acre Agricultural parcel, which requires 50-foot setbacks. Staff reports stated that the home was built on BLM land, of which the agency sold the property owners about one-half acre. The home is already 35 feet from the east property line and Scarf would like to build a garage flush with the house on the south side.

•A request came in from Harold Merritt and Nancy J. Merritt Family Trust who want to separate 29.2 acres froma 76.8-acre parcel (currently Agricultural and requested to be rezonedas Rural Residential 20) to subdivide the 29.2 acres into a separate lot. The property is located 1.3 miles west of the Pinedale town boundary on the north side of Highway 191.

The highway already divides the parcel; a simple lot division making the parcel 35 acres total would mean a portion would be located across the highway. A staff report recommending approval came with two stipulations attached: the first, that wetlands would be delineated and the second, that a building envelope be designated outside the wetlands.

Commissioner Dave Harper questioned the staff-recommended stipulations, calling them “bureaucratic layering.”

“To me this is inverse taking of private property ...unless we have some real good reason for doing it,” Harper said. Myers said that the stipulations protect the wetland resources per the county comprehensive plan.

James Thomas, representing the owners, said that those concerns should be addressed “at the plat stage rather than this point.

“We would just as soon keep the property on one side of the highway,” he said. “We’re just going for this zone change now.”

Chair Albert Sommers said his main concern about rezoning that property, currently a horse pasture, calls for “making a conscious decision when we are putting new buildings in new areas.”

He said he isn’t convinced that the parcel wouldn’t work as 35 acres divided by the highway.

“I really don’t want to see in my lifetime a string of development from DuckCreek to the Cora Y,” Sommers said.

Board member Carmel Kail said she too was concerned about a home being built on the “open space” side of the property. “It bothers me about starting off on that side of the highway,” she said, adding that she wants to see the proposed 29-acre lot expanded to 35 acres across the highway. The vote to recommend approval of the request came in at four ayes and one nay.

• A request was heard from developer Paul Harber to rezone a 3.4-acre “nonconforming” parcel in the immediate vicinity of Daniel Junction from Agricultural to Light Industrial. The site, which has a brick shop building, served in the 1950s as a Wyoming Department of Transportation road-maintenance facility and later, was used by the county for storage. It has been vacant the last four years.

The DEQ tested the soils in 1990 after underground fuel tanks were removed and a slight contamination was found, putting the site behind 1,099 others on the state agency’s clean-up list, Myers said. That contaminant probably has deteriorated naturally over the years and possibly the DEQ could retest the soil, he said.

Thomas, also representing Harber, said that because the lot had been used for industrial purposes, it should be “conforming” to neighbors’ zoning and past uses.

Uses allowed in a Light Industrial zone include service station, manufacturing, laundry or dry cleaning services, storage units, oilfield equipment sales and others; with a conditional-use permit, allowed uses include employee housing, airport, dog kennel man camp and fur farm.

Board member Tim Thompson said he was “good with this (change)” because of its “historic use.” Thomas said the brick shop building will stay and might eventually house a business.

“It just made sense,” he said. “It’s a nice shop ...we thought we would keep that available if somebody comes along.”

Kail said she sees Daniel as a “historic community and things are going on at the junction.” She said she agreed with the need to rezone but wouldn’ twant to see stacks of culverts or see the lot “become a convenient place to have a wrecking yard.”

Myers pointed out that a salvage yard is required to have a 1,000-foot setback, which would leave little room on that property for junkers.

The motion to recommend approval was passed unanimously.

• The next two P&Z meetings will be held Sept. 13 andOct. 11 and 7 p.m.

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