Volume 104, Number 40 - October 4, 2007
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P&Z hears subdivision proposal
With only three of the five members in attendance at its meeting Monday, the Pinedale Planning and Zoning (P&Z) board heard a recommendation of compliance for the annexation of a 231-acre subdivision, which property owners anticipate will include the development of a school campus and land for mobile and manufactured homes, as well as an RV park and commercial property.
The proposed subdivision is located north of Highway 191 and east of Ehman Lane, west of the Trails Creek Subdivison, which is currently under construction. “They’ve met all of the petition requirements,” Jacquet said. “They’ve also submitted a traffic survey.”
Though the applicants met the requirements, several board members expressed their concerns.
“I have several concerns,” board member John Fogerty said, pointing out that the location of the proposed subdivision was on the antelope migration corridor. “ … I know our wildlife is something we’re all concerned with,” he said.
The reality of having such a large subdivision annexed into town was also questioned. Fogerty said that the scale of the subdivision may be a little far-fetched when taking the current population and development of other subdivisions into consideration. “I’d like to know if the plan is to build the footprint of the subdivision,” he said. “ … I can’t picture more than 1,000 people living there. It’s hard to imagine, especially with all the other development taking place.” As with the Trails Creek Subdivision, Mark Eatinger of Rio Verde Engineering said the development will be phased.
Matt Harber, representing the Harber Trust, which owns the property in question, said that particular parcel of land has been on the radar for development since 2000. “Everything in this master plan [for the subdivision] is a result of several years of meetings,” he said. “You’re right. The numbers do seem astounding, but that’s the risk we’re taking … The only thing that’s keeping people from moving here is the affordability – that’s what we’ve addressed here.” Harber said that a tax credit program will be looked into to make sure the property remains affordable.
“We think we have enough information to bring it forth for annexation,” he said. “ … The school district is moving forward with a new elementary school and we’d like it to be here.”
Already having businesses showing interestin the property of the proposed subdivision, Harber said there is a significant need for commercial property in town that is not along Pine Street.
“We already have two parties interested in over 15 acres of the 52 acres,” he said. “They don’t want to be on Main Street, but they want to be in town.” Fogerty was still skeptical about what he was hearing.
“One thing that’s been interesting to watch, nationally, is the housing market taking a nose dive,” he said. “It will be interesting to see if the market corrects itself. There are three homes on my street [for sale]and it will be interesting to see how much they are reduced.”
Vern McAdams, business manager for Sublette County School District #1 was also in attendance at Monday’s meeting to voice his opinion and explain how the school would benefit from the approval of this subdivision.
“The school district is very much in favor of this,” he said, adding that enrollment continues to increase. “We’re going to need more space. I know it seems hard to fathom … but we’re convinced we’re going to see growth.”
Whether or not the subdivision is approved, McAdams said the school will be going forth with plans to build a new elementary school with groundbreaking taking place in the spring.
With the proposed subdivision, McAdams said the amount of land available would provide for expansion of the school and perhaps have all of the schools in one general location in the future.
“It would be nice to have it be contiguous,” he said. “ … We’re very excited about moving forward because it’s a win-win for us.”
Though the agenda item had been advertised, Rock said he had qualms about the lack of public participation. Board member Rozlyn Leslie said that there was no reason to be overly concerned about it since the proposal was in the very early stages and that people would most likely start voicing their concerns once the process is further along.
Longtime Pinedale resident Jamison Ziegler then spoke up in favor of new development in town.
“I’ve grown up here. My family’s here. I plan on being here a while,” he said. “I just see this as an opportunity to pass through a threshold. This is the most creative, most sensible, most logical plan that’s come up.” Ziegler went on to say that he sees the potential for a new subdivision like this to bring good things to the town.
“This is a big piece of land and it makes us nervous,” he said. “I’d like to speak in favor of the development and I would hate to see it get off track in the early stages. This is a wonderful opportunity for us, as a town, to grow.” Acknowledging that the number of additional lots the subdivision would create might
Leslie pointed out that the infrastructure of the town is a consideration that needs to be looked at before any major development moves forward.
“You need to make sure those needs are met before you bring an influx of residents here,” she said.
Sublette County Joint Tourism Promotion Board Director Mindi Crabb said that affordable housing is something Pinedale needs more of.
“Affordable housing is, was and will be our number one issue for some time,” she said. “Something along this line … is a positive step forward for what is the biggest challenge in this community.”
With no further audience comments, Rock asked the board for a motion either to approve or deny the application. The motion carried, though without a quorum, by a 2-1 vote, with Rock opposed.
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