Pinedale to get 100 room hotel?
Rio Verde Engineer's conception of the planned new hotel in Pinedale.
To be leased exclusively for oil & gas workers for 5 years
by Dawn Ballou
September 7, 2005
Tuesday evening, the Town of Pinedale Planning & Zoning Board listened to an application by Vista Grande LLC for a commercial building permit to build a 100-room hotel on the west end of Pinedale.
The three-story hotel would be built on the north side of U.S. Highway 191, across from Country Lane Convenience Store. According to the builder, Mitch Paris of Paris Construction Management from Cincinnati, Ohio, the hotel will be operated as an extended stay lodging facility, and would be completely booked up and leased to service companies for the gas patch for five years. No rooms would be available to the general public or visitors for the first five years. No plans have been finalized for beyond the five years, but possibilities included a restaurant or convention center on the site.
The new hotel would be the largest hotel facility yet in Pinedale, even larger than the new Amerihost Inn the company just built and opened in July on the other side of the highway.
"Weíve made a commitment to this town," said Paris. "It will be a stone and log look, just like we did with the Amerihost."
The contractor hoped to get a start on the project this fall before the ground freezes in October and stops construction progress over the winter.
The Town Planning & Zoning Board deferred approval of the building permit application due to unanswered questions and last-minute paperwork submitted by Rio Verde Engineering, which the Board didnít have time to review prior to the meeting.
It was a bit of a surprise that there were no members of the public in attendance at this Planning and Zoning meeting to make comment on this large project.
"Iím surprised there is no crowd here complaining about animal migration," commented P&Z board member Paul Rock, "It will close the gap between the Highway Department."
Rock added, "Iím troubled with the haste this is being rushed through. Is there a tipping point? Youíre risking your life crossing Pine Street right now. Are we adding 100 more white pick-up trucks to Pinedale?"
Despite rapid growth concerns, the board members were in agreement that more housing was greatly needed around Pinedale for oil and gas field workers and they were in support of the project. Board members asked questions about impacts to sewer and water loads to the town sewage system; noise from shift workerís diesel vehicles; adequacy of the number of parking spaces for long-term residents, their visitors and recreation equipment parking for snowmobiles and ATVs; and handling of water that runs in an irrigation ditch that runs through the property.
While the project meets all the requirements for a building permit, the P&Z Board decided to postpone making a decision until they had a chance to review the last minute paperwork and get some policy direction from the Pinedale Town Council.
The delay was met with frustration by Mark Eatinger of Rio Verde Engineering, who represents Vista Grande LLC on the project. "Youíre putting the owner at tremendous financial risk by tabling this," he said. "It meets all the codes and there are no variances. This project now is being set aside from any other project when it meets all the criteria."
"The plans have come to us with too hasty a decision with inadequate information. Iím not comfortable approving it without taking a closer look," said Rock.
The issue will be put on the agenda for the Townís regular meeting on Monday, September 12th at the Pinedale Town Hall starting at 6:30 pm After which, the P&Z Board will hold a special meeting to make their decision on the building permit request.
Anyone interested is welcome to attend and make public comment on the topic at both the Town Council and special P& Z meeting.