From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 7, Number 33 - November 8, 2007
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Commissioners view senior housing proposal

by Tiffany Turner

With recent meetings being held concerning the lack of available senior housing in the area, members of focus groups for new accommodations presented the county commissioners with proposals for different floor plans and options for future development for a new senior housing complex.

Sara Carroll, Bill Collins and Paul Jensen brought a presentation of development to the table at Tuesday’s Sublette County Commissioner’s meeting. Site specific to the location between Faler’s and Rendezvous Pointe, it was, according to Jensen, more of a development of different options than a proposed development for that site.

“We are trying to show what could be done here and later in Big Piney,” Jensen said.

The conceptual designs shown were based on a survey answered by roughly 100 seniors in Sublette County.

“What we are marketable... and financially do-able,” Jensen said. “We tried to identify demands and the characteristics of those demands.”

“What is important to recognize is the fastest-growing portion of (Sublette County) growth is the senior population,” he added. Collins pointed out to the commissioners that since 1990, when the county had a rental vacancy of 13 percent, rental vacancy has dropped to less than 1 percent availability with 5 percent being accepted as a “healthy rate.” He added that with the inflation of prices in the area it has become nearly impossible for many seniors to find affordable living options.

“One of the design options... was making about 40 percent of this affordable,” Collins said.

Affordable, according to the graphp resented, means a monthly rent between $500 and $700(with a yearly income between $20,000-$27,000) and market-value rentals being accessed between $1,000 and $1,550 (with an annual income in the $40,000 range).

“Fifty-five percent (34 seniors) of those who responded said they would consider moving into senior housing in the next five years,” Jensen said.

With Rendezvous Pointe having an average waiting list of 12-18 people and a projected growth that from now until 2020, the seniors needing homes in a senior center would grow from the current 49 to 98, the group agreed that some option would need to be available. They presented budgets for 22 and 33 units with different financing options shown.

“While these designs are very conceptual, a lot of work and ideas went into this,” Collins said of the floor plans and complex ideas for development.

Their shown proposal consisted of three buildings containing six units each, six duplexes and three single-family homes, which according to Collins, was a mix that he hoped would appeal to a broader market of seniors.

“One of the highest priorities was single level living,” Collins said.

There were some floor plans that dealt with an optional second bedroom upstairs, but every model contained living space, including the master bedroom, on the first floor. With their presentation completed, the group mentioned hopes of the construction phase in 2008.

Commissioner John Linn voiced worry that the plan had become somewhat of an addition to Rendezvous Pointe as opposed to something for the entirety of the county. “The study has been a county-wide study,” Jensen said.

Janet Mitchell, the operator of the senior center in Marbleton agreed that the surveys were county-wide and stated that most of them had come from the Marbleton area. “The need kind of slapped me in the face,” she said.

Discussion continued about truly building facilities to help seniors on the south side of the county.

“I could fill 10 tomorrow,” Mitchell said.

In other county news:

• The draft of the county-wide study done by ERG has been completed and presented to the commissioners with the option to take on more studies. The commissioners said they were impressed with what they saw, although they had little time to go through the pages since it had only been sent to them the night prior to the meeting.

The commissioners agreed they would like to post the draft online and allow for comments on the study’s findings.

The commissioners also agreed they would be interested in furthering the study once they were given an amount for the process to be continued into phase II.

“Maybe we need to ring that bell,” Commissioner Chairman Bill Cramer said. Worries included the fact that the county building is already too small with in 10years of construction when, at the time it was built, the current study showed it would be adequate for 25 years.

“Now we’re behind again and playing catch-up,” Cramer said.

The commissioners hope that with this study, future planning will be more on-target for what the actual growth and change will be and that the county will more accurately be able to show legislature and other organizations and bodies of government what the impacts in the county actually are. “The governor’s office – I think we ought to send one of these to him,” Linn said.

• Jeffrey Jacquet reported to the commissioners on a meeting he attended in Cheyenne between the large power consumers and Rocky Mountain Power (RMP). The consumers believe that the proposed increase should be spread out and paid for by all customers (residential included) and RMP argues that it should be the responsibility of the consumers forcing the raise with their usage.

“I told them I think a lot of residential customers and the municipalities will side with RMP on this one,” Jacquet said.

Cramer drafted a letter stating that it should be the responsibility of the big consumers to pay for any increase and that if no negotiations can be made between the consumers and RMP, then a meeting should be held in Sublette County so deciding parties could see the opinions of the community.

• The landfill contract with Teton County was extended for an addition 30 days with the contingency that if the commissionis required to extend it again, rates will increase. Linn had reservations about extending the contract for so long this time, but the motion eventually passed unanimously.

•Cat Urbigkit brought the final draft of the State of the County report to the commissioners for final review. Distribution options are still being considered, but the pamphlet, after the few requested changes are made, will be ready for the public.

“You’ve done a great job,” Linn said to Urbigkit.

• Four water wells have been drilled in Sublette County since August in locations near Fremont Lake, Daniel, Boulder and the landfill. The county is still awaiting results for the last three wells, but the Fremont Lake well drilled in August showed no signs of contamination.

•First West Road and First North Road were accepted into the Class II roads program with funding accepted. Estimates for the roads are First West, $85,000 and $172,690 for First North.

The commissioners also approved a road inspection to be done in Hoback Ranches to see if its entrance could be accepted into the program.

Meadowlark continues to be an issue. Since its acceptance into the program, it was found that the road was not located in the actual easement and the commissioners are continuing to determine and propose alternatives for moving the road entirely.

• Cramer named Lynda Vickrey and Betty Fear co-chairs of the Fairground Master Plan Board in hopes that the process could once again get going.

“This thing is kind of stuck in the mud,” Linn said.

“What we need is to know what we have done and what we have to do,” Cramer said.

• Kenda Tanner spoke to the commissioners about funding for soccer fields in Marbleton. “We have committed the rec reserves we have to the rec center,” Cramer said. “ I think we just don’t have the money.”

With 108 participants in the program last year, Tanner said there was ad efinite need for the new fields.

Cramer advised her to speak with the Joint Powers Board.

•Ron Gordon proposed taking over the county road kill clean-up problem for a sum of $8,000 each month.

“I think what you should do, Ron, is give us a written proposal of what you have in mind and how you are going to accomplish it,” Cramer said. Cramer added that in the past they had put a position out to bid and no one had shown any interest.

“I think the major responsibility for this road kill is the Game and Fish (G&F) – they’re responsible for this wildlife,” he said.

Linn agreed, stating that they already have an agreement with G&F to pickup the animals the county then allows them to dump for no charge. “I’m a little hesitant to jeopardize this arrangement,” Linn said.

Linn added that he thought allowing G&F and the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WyDOT), who is responsible for clean up on the state roads, to be responsible for the animals forced them to truly see what is happening in the county. With the discussion of the safety on the roads, Gordon also mentioned that there could be a change in hours for the 24-hour operations that could also help with roadkill and road safety.

“I have an idea that won’t cost anyone a penny,” Gordon said. “Go to the oil companies that are operating 24 hours a day... have them make shift changes at noon and midnight.” Gordan said this would keep the drivers from driving into the sun at the six-o’clock hours and keep the heavy traffic off the roads during the dusk and dawn heavy animal traffic.

“Daylight and dark is when most of the animal activity is,” he said.

The commissioners agreed, and Linn offered to draft the letter to the different companies proposing the change.

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