From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 7, Number 24 - September 6, 2007
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

P&Z Board Reviews Draft Master Plan

by Tiffany Turner

A small group of Planning and Zoning (P&Z) board members met at the Sept. 4 meeting due to the absence of Roz Leslie and the recent dismissal of chair Robert Brito.

In front of the remaining three members, Paul Rock, Barbara Boyce (both recently reappointed) and Pam Curry, was an agenda that included accepting the annexation of Split Diamond Meadows into the Town of Pinedale and a review of the drafted Master Plan for the town.

The Master Plan, a document that has served Pinedale for nearly 20 years, has been under review and a steering committee, along with many town officials and board members, have met to see to that it is revised to fit the current model and plans for Pinedale’s future.

Rochelle Ricotta, who is overseeing the project, met with the P&Z board to receive their input on the changes and wording of the document.

Ricotta began the discussion by explaining to the board that the Master Plan and the county’s Community Development Plan (CDP) were “very complementary.” “We did not want the Master Plan to be considered going over the CDP,” she said.

Ricotta said the Master Plan is more ordinance based while the CDP is more of a vision statement. Ricotta then discussed some of the changes the steering committee for theMaster Plan had instated within the document, including a need for parking, recycling and water conservation.

After looking over the document, Rock had several questions for Ricotta since, unlike Curry and Boyce, he had not had the chance to sit one-on-one with her to discuss the document.

“I don’t think you can just wave your magic zoning wand,” Rock said, feeling that many of the changes had just been made without the input of many different people.

“It’s all up for debate,” Ricotta said, reminding Rock that this was a draft not the finalMaster Plan. She also informed the board that after she received all the input from the board and the council members, the Master Plan would be published and the community will have the ability to come in and voice their opinions.

Other items brought to Ricotta’s attention that were mentioned within the Master Plan included a need for snow-shoveled sidewalks in the winter (which brought about the debate as to whether sidewalks should be required as they brought more difficulties to snow removal), gutters, the definition and requirements for designating an area a “Heritage Preservation” district and the metering of water. Rock felt that all of these items would be “contentious subjects” to many of the citizens in the area. Rock also found discomfort in the changing of the vocabulary of theMaster Plan from calling it a guideline to the new master plan’s use of the word “mandate.” “I think it spells trouble down the line,” Rock said, claiming that the mandatory use of the Master Plan was giving the municipal government too much control.

“The old Master Plan served us well for 20 years,” he said.

Town Engineer Eugene Ninnie, who said the old Master Plan had been ignored and overlooked for many years, claimed it had not served the community very well, but in the end, the Master Plan was a document meant to help the P&Z board and it would be largely their decision.

“I would rather see the town governed by ordinances,” Rock said.

Boyce backed his opinion. The issues and concerns brought up by the P&Z board, along with those of council members and planning staff, will be taken into consideration before the draft of theMaster Plan is published.

Ricotta hopes to publish the plan in mid-September for citizens to look at the changes made and submit suggestions.

“I hope I get 100,000 replies,” Ricotta said. “This is a community effort.”

Split Diamond Meadows, a subdivision that has hit the P&Z table numerous times in the past, was brought forth once again to the board to decide whether or not it should be annexed into the town.

“Just for clarification, you are weighing whether or not it meets compliance with the town ordinances,” Planning AdministratorMeghan Jacquet said. Jacquet stated that after the town motioned on the subdivision this time, the plans would then be advertised for 30 days and the board would again vote on the annexation after hearing input from any concerned citizens.

“Have they done everything we asked them to do between the preliminary and now?” Boyce asked. Having been assured by Jacquet that they had, Boyce had no other questions.

Rock questioned whether or not the town council, who tends to be opposed to cul-de-sacs within the town limits, had agreed to the layout. Jacquet explained that since the property abuts undeveloped land, the town determined that it was an acceptable use of the cul-de-sacs and would be allowed within the town limits.

“Basically, it is the exact same subdivision you saw before,” Rio Verde Engineer Dave Fornstrom said. Minor changes had been made to alleviate problems with snow removal, but Fornstrom felt no major alterations had been made.

“I have no further comment on this, it all looks in order,” Ninnie said.

The annexation was unanimously passed.

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