Volume 104, Number 14 - April 5, 2007
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
by Annie O’Brien
Dave Hohl will attend his first Pinedale Town Council meeting on April 9, after being appointed to the council by Judge Norman Young. This marks his second stint to the town council – he was a member from 1986 until 1993 – and reflected on his past and future service to local government. Hohl was the third-place finisher in last spring’s contested town council election.
Town planning and zoning board chairman Robert Brito and Loretta Deats sued top vote-getter Dave Smith and several others, on the grounds the election was illegal because Smith and Erik Ashley, another town council candidate, were not registered voters when they petitioned to be included on the ballot. The plaintiffs requested the judge either order an entirely new election or remove Smith from the council and appoint Hohl. The judge chose the latter option.
Hohl’s reaction to his appointment was mixed. While he said he regrets that he gained a spot on the council at Smith’s “expense” he is happy he has the opportunity to serve on local government again. He also said he acknowledged there had been an “issue” with the election, which he believed “should be resolved according to what the law says.”
Pinedale faced similar challenges during Hohl’s previous seven-year tenure on the council as it does today. When the town took on the Fremont Lake Dam restoration project, it had to address water rights. The reconstruction of the dam, completed in 1993, gave the town better control over its water, but forced the town to consider the issue of beneficial use, or the policy of awarding water rights to users who can demonstrate they need the water for “beneficial purposes” such as human consumption or agriculture.
Hohl noted the town had far less money in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but some perennial issues continue to vex Pinedale’s administration. Improving Pinedale’s water and sewer systems were as pressing in the 1980s as they are today. He pointed out that the cost of running the town’s water and sewer systems exceeded the revenues they generated when he previously served on the council. Hohl and his family moved to Utah in the 90s. When he retired from the Forest Service, the Hohls returned to Pinedale in 1998. Hohl appreciates Pinedale’s small-town atmosphere and the “quality of the outdoors.” He did not immediately return to public service, but decided to run for town council again last year.
The biggest concern currently facing the town, Hohl believes, is “growth – all aspects of it.” He declined to list specific methods for handling Pinedale’s expansion, stating his ideas were not well-developed, but said he believes development must be managed to ensure the town “continues to provide services for its citizens.”
While several recent large-scale development proposals have met opposition from residents, Hohl said he “basically supports” development, as long as it is managed properly. Dismissing concerns over the scarcity of affordable housing is not helpful either, Hohl said. “That doesn’t help in the short run. That doesn’t help with lower income folks,” he said, adding that affordable housing is a national problem.
He looks forward to addressing the growing town’s unique, perhaps unprecedented concerns. Hohl said he wants “to develop policies and implement decisions that would benefit the citizens of the town in the long term.”
Photo credits: Annie O’Brien
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