From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 8, Number 43 - January 15, 2008
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Ordinance 442 tabled to allow for changes, input

by Tiffany Turner

Town Hall was packed again. Ordinance 442 has filled almost every seat in Pinedale’s council room since it was placed on the agendas of both Town Council and the Planning and Zoning Board.

And most of the audience comments on the ordinance are not favorable, either.

Concerned citizens are making their voice heard in other ways as well.

“I have heard many comments on this in e-mail, mail, phone calls and even in the milk lane at Ridley’s,” Pinedale Mayor Steve Smith said.

The ordinance, tabled twice on its second reading, will give Pinedale a much more detailed and professional expectations for site plans coming before P&Z as well as listing many more options that can warrant a denial, including landscaping, drainage and fitting with the community character.

“The thing that keeps coming up and concerning most people … is language concerning aesthetics,” said P&Z chair John Fogerty. “(People want) to do away with all the interpretive language and make it more specific – but if you look at it, I don’t think that’s what people want at all.”

“I think most people oppose this ordinance over losing some sort of personal freedom,” he added.

The loss of personal freedom was something that echoed throughout the room all evening, mostly in reference to all the ordinance’s proposed requirements and aesthetic regulations.

Mayor Steve Smith explained that, while they accepted there were things to be changed in the proposal, the actual document was being put in place to protect the town and its taxpayers. Dave Smith agreed, stating without the ordinance – including the language on aesthetics and community character – if they denied someone based on those elements they were leaving themselves exposed to lawsuits. He added the language would not be used to make the town the “aesthetics Gestapo” but more to ensure that things unwelcome would not be allowed within the town and that it would be legal to deny them.

“The days of lots of room in Pinedale to build... are gone – They have been gone for 10 years,” Dave Smith said.

“I think people live in Pinedale for a reason,” the mayor added. “People live in Pinedale for a sense of community. … Most people like that and I’d like to preserve it.”

Mayor Smith said this ordinance and its language would allow P&Z and Council to deny “macaroni boxes” and other nontraditional Pinedale buildings.

Town Engineer Eugene Ninnie explained the new system presented in the ordinance would also streamline the application process by ensuring anyone coming before the P&Z board had all the needed materials.

Council as a body stuck behind the need to have such an ordinance but agreed some change of the language and requirements would be needed, such as a raise to the $20,000 project minimum that would require the applicant to follow the new ordinance and a firming up of the language used.

“It is obvious we need to work on this ordinance more; in its current form it is unacceptable to you guys … and its unacceptable to us,” Dave Smith said.

Kunard agreed, stating several years before, the town had done a study about the concerns of the community on overcrowding and big building and was warned then a revision to the ordinances would be needed if the town wanted to control what came into the area.

“I don’t want to completely throw it out,” said council member Nylla Kunard.

The council tabled the second reading with the agreement that more public comment would be taken and the language and requirements would be revised prior to the ordinance being read again. Th is means at least two more meetings where the ordinance, in whatever form it takes, goes before the council for approval.

“Let’s remember (public comments) is why this body doesn’t make decisions overnight,” Mayor Smith said. “We’ll be working on it so make sure you get your letters in.”

Contact the town at 367-4136 or stop in at Pinedale Town Hall to pick up a copy or voice your opinion on this ordinance.

In other town news:

• Tim Lingle, who lives on Quartz, stopped in to present bills to the town stating his pipes froze due to a kink in the line near the curb stop, which he believes is the result of street construction that took place there this summer. The town took copies of the bills asking Lingle to bring in the kinked pipe for inspection while the town looks into whether or not it is possible the contractor was responsible for the freezing. The bills totaled $4,800.

• Forest Wakefield, owner of the Log Cabin Motel, also approached the board over frozen pipes. In late December the motel had frozen pipes and when they called One-call were informed that since their lines were above ground the company would not locate his lines on private property. Wakefield asked the town if there was anything they could do to help, as when the crew dug blindly they did hit power lines. Wakefield was informed that the town could not take on the liability of checking for lines on private property and the device used to locate was too technical for just anyone to use. Council advised Wakefield to try local contractors next time as many of them have locators as well.

• Big Rig Catering was tabled once again with council requesting the applicant be there in person to discuss the building permit since was remodeling done to the building prior to the permit being granted.

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