Volume 104, Number 13 - March 29, 2007
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Developer withdraws proposal
Cecilia Richardson sent a letter to the Pinedale Roundup on March 27, announcing her decision to withdraw her application for a zone change on hundreds of acres of land less than a mile south of town. Richardson, the president of Richardson Development, Inc., had sought a zoning change on property near the existing Old Brazzill Ranch from an agricultural designation to R6000. Land zoned R6000 must contain minimum lot sizes of 6,000 feet. Richardson also wanted the county to grant a zone change on roughly nine acres of land from agricultural to general commercial use.
Richardson’s proposed development faced intense public opposition. At the March 8 Pinedale Planning and Zoning Board meeting, several members of the board and the public who had come to speak on the matter were surprised to discover the county did not require an official recommendation from the town P & Z board on the proposed change because the property was not within the town limits. The board made a recommendation to deny the zone change anyway.
Community members, many of whom live in the existing Old Brazzill Ranch subdivision, voiced their objection to Richardson’s proposal. Traffic concerns, property values and confusion over the town’s decision to grant water and sewer privileges to the future development were points of contention. Some said the master plans for the proposed development were misleading, and Richardson did not disclose her intention to build high-density lots. Other citizens expressed their fears the development would damage the town’s rural character. “This is a cowboy town,” Paris Babcock said at the meeting.
On March 15, the Sublette County Planning and Zoning Board recommended the commissioners deny Richardson’s request. The proposed development would have included single family and multi-family homes, in what Richardson said was an effort to create more high-density, affordable housing in Pinedale. Richardson met with the county commission on March 9 to discuss plans for low cost housing initiatives in Sublette County. She consulted with housing officials in Teton County, which has implemented several affordable housing requirements for developers and businesses, but the county commissioners were reluctant to institute similar “bureaucratic” measures.
“I don’t want to be in the business of telling people where they have to live,” commission chair Bill Cramer said at the meeting. Richardson was scheduled to speak to the Pinedale Town Council at its March 26 meeting, but was removed from the agenda. The commission would have likely voted on the zone change on April 13.
Even if Richardson’s zone change request had been denied by the county commission, nothing could have formally stopped her from bringing an identical or similar proposal immediately. Sublette County Planning and Zoning Administrator Bart Myers said the county has no regulation forcing developers to wait or redraft their plans if they are denied.
In an e-mail Richardson stated that she was no longer planning to develop land near the existing Old Brazzill Ranch subdivision. She wrote, “The opposition has been fierce and vicious, and after discussing this with family members we thought it best to withdraw and put this proposal on hold indefinitely.”
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