Volume 104, Number 50 - December 13, 2007
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Bloomfield a step closer
Members of the general public expressed mixed opinions about the proposed Bloom-Field subdivision at Monday’s Pinedale Town Council meeting, where council members voted on the first reading to annex the development.
Some locals feared negative impacts from the 926-unit development, which would cover roughly 230 acres and include town homes, condos, a mobile home park, RV park and a possible new school.
Yet others adamantly defended the town’s lack of affordable housing and the resulting loss of service industry employees able to make it on low wages.
Recognizing the latter argument as justifiable, the council voted unanimously to pass the first reading.
The vote followed last week’s public hearing on the subdivision, and the council’s approval of a resolution to move the pro-posed development into the ordinance process.
council members weren’t surprised by the unanimous vote, said council member Chris House after the meeting.
“I think the proposed project has a lot of potential for the town, and if it’s managed right, then there’s a lot of good that can come out of it for the town of Pinedale — and the council sees that opportunity,” House said. If the Town Council passes all three readings to annex BloomField, the subdivision’s developer Matt Harber must still run the plan through a detailed preliminary plat review with Planning and Zoning before submitting it to the council again.
House said he felt confident this process will adapt the development to the public’s needs.
“I think it will take a lot of monitoring and a lot of work on the town’s part to ensure we get the proper zoning and don’t let any one aspect of the project get away from us,” House said. “We need to phase it in, and build a little bit of each part of the project at a time.”
But for some locals who attended Monday’s meeting, that assurance wasn’t good enough.
Jamie Schmidt, a resident of the Fox Hollow subdivision that would neighbor Bloom-Field, said he felt suspicious of municipal burdens the influx of new residents would bring.
“I know (BloomField) is an effort to make housing more affordable and everything like that, I’m not in any way opposed to development or growth of the community,”
Schmidt said. “However, the density is something that concerns me as a private citizen. That impact will the density have surrounding the proposed school area, and upon law enforcement and the city’s water issues and sewer issues?”
Immediately after Schmidt took his seat, however, Forest Wakefield, owner of Log Cabin Motel and a member of the Chamber of Commerce board, stood to present the other side.
“I guess I’m speaking for the density, as I’m interested in affordable housing because I’m interested in having employees,” Wakefield said. “Right now, wages are about $12 to $15 an hour, which is just under $25,000 a year, and would be for those kind of folks who could afford those trailers proposed. We realize not everybody wants to be a housekeeper for life, but it would be nice to have people for a year or two or three at a time. It would be great if they could afford to rent or own a place, and I know density does allow that.”
Laurie Latta, coordinator of the Sublette Community Partnership, agreed. “We’re 25 percent higher than the rest of the state in our housing average, and yet our income is in fifth place, so it’s not coming together the way it should,” Latta said. “I just would like you to think of the future of the community and where you would like it to go — if you want to make it the kind of place where all kinds of people can live and work together and make it a great place to call a home.”
Town Council member Nylla Kunard said after the meeting that she isn’t overly concerned by some people’s criticism of the subdivision because of the extent to which both Planning and Zoning and the Town Council will eventually scrutinize every aspect of the subdivision’s preliminary plat.
“I really have a feeling (Harber) will try to work with the general public,” Kunard said. “The town is going to grow, and I think any time you have growth, you’ve got to plan for it.”
In other Town Council news:
— The council authorized asking for bids on the construction of a 700-foot addition to the Town Hall, with remodeling of the storage room.
— The council approved for WLC, an engineering, surveying and planning firm, to update the written standards for Public Works operations in town. The updates should take three to four months, and cost no more than $15,000. Town Engineer Eugene Ninnie said the current standards date back to about 1980, and were typed “on an old IBM typewriter.”
— Council members approved drafting a letter of intent to start the contractual process in hiring Stantek Services consulting firm to perform a town traffic study.
—The council moved to advertise the need for a drainage study to allow later comparison of price proposals from engineering firms.
— The council authorized a project development contract for McKinstry, Inc. to conduct an energy audit and designs for the town garage.
— The council re-appointed Barbara Boyce and Gary Shriver to three-year terms on the Pinedale Airport Board.
— The council gave preliminary and finalplat approval for Chauncey Goodrich’s request for a lot 84 and 85 split in the Diamond Meadows Subdivision.
—The council transferred the retail liquor license of Country Lane Liquor to Mike and Jennifer Gilmore, Country Lane’s new owners.
— The council granted Richard and Hope Leedon a six-month temporary residential use permit for their home on East Magnolia Street. As discussed at last week’s Planning and Zoning meeting, the couple purchased the structure without receiving proper notice that the lot had previously been split, changing the setback so the house could only be used for commercial use.
The Leedons only plan to remain in the residence until their new homes finishes construction. Richard’s father will then reside in the structure until a room opens for him at the Sublette Center.
The council agreed to waive the $100 temporary-use permit fee for now, but the couple will have to pay the fine if they ask to renew it later.
— The council voted not to have a second Town Council meeting in December. The next scheduled Town Council meeting is Jan. 14.
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