Volume 103, Number 19 - January 11, 2007
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Town council meeting dampens Andres’ plans
At Monday night’s Pinedale Town Council meeting, the first –and most discussed– item on the agenda involved developer Bernard Andres’ tentative quest to build a very large residential development just south of Pinedale. No motion was made by the town council to either approve or deny Andres’ request to connect to Pinedale’s sewer and water infrastructure, provided he meet the standards and provisions to be determined at a later date. Andres, along with a member of his team, appeared before the council on behalf of his proposed Pole Creek Development.
“I am only asking [tonight] for connection to water,” Andres, a French native with offices based in Jackson and California, told the council. As part of the lengthy process of applications and steps required from both the town and county, Andres appeared Monday night to seek the council’s blessing to hook onto town infrastructure for a development that could be as large as 572 units –considerably the largest subdivision proposed in Sublette County thus far.
“We need to be very careful going into this,” said councilmember David Smith, noting the sheer size of the development could bring with it many implications to Pinedale’s infrastructure.
The Andres Development Corporation proposes to connect to Pinedale’s existing sewer lines at the rodeo grounds and hook onto the town’s water supply at the east end of Washington Street. Andres, as yet, has bought no land and his development will not move forward without first getting green lights at all the mandatory stops of local bureaucracy and protocol.
Another matter that has been haunting the Pinedale Town Council for some time now and was discussed Monday night as it pertained to Andres, is a Wyoming state statute mandating that municipalities set and charge a fixed rate to developers who want to connect to sewer and water. It is currently unclear how that cost should be assessed and applied.
“We should call a moratorium on any other [large] additions until we figure this out,” declared councilmember Gary Heuck.
Councilmember Chris House countered that a moratorium is not “the solution to our problems,” and the discussion quickly shifted.
The council suggested to Andres that a newly assessed water and sewage connection fee could become a very costly expenditure to a development of the scale he is proposing.
He was undeterred by this notion. “From my experience,” he said, the cost of sewer and water “does not jeopardize” the profit margin.
Beyond the uncertainty of appropriate connection fees, there was, among both townspeople in attendance and some council members, concern regarding the effects of such a large development on the existing network of water and sewage pipes.
It was suggested that a more extensive assessment be done on behalf of the town or by a third party unrelated to Andres and his company.
“This is such a large project, I’m not going to jump in the water on this tonight,” said councilmember Smith. His sentiments were echoed by the rest of the council, which sat quietly and did not make a motion to approve his request on even a provisional basis.
“I did exactly –to the copy – of the application [what was required],” said Andres. “I’m not saying I am treated different than anyone else, but it looks that way today,” he said, referring to the town council’s motion at a December meeting to allow Cecelia Richardson to connect her 275-unit proposed subdivision outside of town –provided that she meet certain requirements.
Attorney Ed Wood said earlier in the meeting that no one outside of Pinedale has a right to connect to the town's water and sewer. That decision to allow or deny a connection is up to the discretion of the town council.
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