Holiday Inn Express coming to Pinedale?
Motel and 230-acre subdivision topics of Pinedale P&Z workshop
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
January 21, 2007
On Tuesday, January 16th, the Town of Pinedale Planning & Zoning Board held their regular public meeting. At the end of their regular session, they held a public workshop to hear information about two proposals: one for a new large motel on the east end of Pinedale and the other for a 230-acre mixed-use subdivision west of Pinedale.
Rocky Towle of Design Resources gave the presentation on the proposed motel for the Triangle Addition, which is the property where the Zzzz Inn/Sublette County Visitor Center are currently located between Fremont Lake Road and Highway 191. The proposal is for a three-story, 90-room motel with a swimming pool.
The developer said he has been in contact with Holiday Inn Express on the possibility of doing a franchise. Towle said their current plans are for 85-88 units, with a pool and breakfast area. Building construction would be stick frame, with a rustic, heavy timber look to match what is currently in the area. The Visitor Center building, remaining buildings for the old Zzzz Inn motel, old cement foundations and heating oil tanks would all be removed from the property.
No restaurant is currently planned. Meeting room space would be a large room that would have divider screens which could split the room into four separate meeting room bays.
There was some discussion about whether the new building would be designed to be able to accommodate larger conventions of 200-300 people. Asked if Pinedale could bring in a convention that large, Mindi Crabb, Director for the Sublette County Joint Tourism Promotion Board replied, “Easily. We need a commercial kitchen and attached restaurant. We can bring in two-to-three hundred people conventions and easily fill the other motels in town.” Towle said their current design plans could probably handle smaller groups of 125 people with food services catered in. “Without food services, you can’t bring a lot of conferences in,” Crabb noted.
There was also discussion about water and sewer line capacity at that location, building height, traffic access points onto Highway 191, and fire department access requirements.
Since this was a general information workshop, no decisions were made during this session.
230-acre Mixed-Use Development
The second Workshop topic of discussion was for a proposed 230-acre, mixed-use development for land northwest of Pinedale, adjacent to the town limits. The development is proposed for the land north of where the new Bureau of Land Management building is being built on US Highway 191, and on the east side of Ehman Lane.
Representatives of the developers, Stewart Land Group, were on hand to provide more information. The development would include commercial space, apartments, town-homes, a mobile home park, storage units and single-family lots. The conceptual plan also includes a hotel site, which would be enough land for either two small hotels or one larger convention complex.
Thirty acres would be developed as apartments, 30 acres as town-houses, 22 acres as a mobile home/recreational vehicle/trailer court area, with possibly an RV park.
The Barber Creek drainage would be landscaped and turned into a 150-foot walking parkway. Developers want the area to be designed as a “walking community”, which invites people to easily reach the various sections via walking paths and trails that intersect each aspect. Open space, park areas and picnic areas would be included in the overall design.
The apartments would be a combination of market pricing and some affordable housing with tax incentive, tax-credit units. The affordable housing would be targeting people in the salary range of $12,000 to $40,000 income ranges, requiring renters to meet income qualification screening and background checks. Approximately 30-50 units would be devoted to affordable housing. These would be 2-3 bedroom units, which would be identical to the apartments in the market priced category. Developers said the 2 bedroom units could go for as low as $400/month and the three bedroom units for around the $700/month price range. Their first building thrust would be for the affordable apartment complexes.
The development would be phased over 5-10 years to build-out. Phase I would include the hotel, commercial spaces, apartments and mobile home park community. Development would proceed as the market dictates.
Planning and Zoning members were cautious. Barbara Boyce commented, “It’s scary. I don’t see how our little town water system can support you.” P&Z member Paul Rock asked if they had a market analysis of feasibility and if there was a demand for 1,000 more housing units in Pinedale? The developer assured them they had looked at that market data.
The developer assured the board that they were confident there was a need for what they were proposing, and the market would dictate a lot of what they did over time.
Rancher Paul Hagenstein was concerned about drainage for the area pointed out that these fields can experience significant flooding during high spring flow years. He has seen the fields adjacent to Barber Creek flooded and water flowing across the highway some years. The developer assured the board they would plan for adequate drainage and water movement.
P&Z board member Robert Brito brought up the idea of a moratorium on subdivisions until the Town has a better handle on their water and sewer capabilities. “Where are we going with our future growth,” he asked. “Do we want to do this also?”
Mark Eatinger, with Rio Verde Engineering, expressed frustration at the idea of a moratorium. “It’s a month turn-around every time we submit something. You have the time without imposing a moratorium in-between meetings,” he said.
James Rogers, with Pinedale Properties real estate, commented that the Sonoran Institute had done a study for the best to worst areas for subdivisions and this location was their #1 spot for prime location for subdivision development and for water and sewer to work properly. Some P&Z board members expressed little faith in the Sonoran Institute study.
Doc Johnston asked if the developers had spoken with the local school system to see if they had discussed the potential impacts their development would have on their ability to accommodate the influx of more children into the school system. “We’re already over capacity,” he said. “I think you are premature coming here before talking to the school,” he added.
Again, no decisions were made during the workshop session of this meeting. The P&Z board thanked the developers for taking the time to come in and make their presentations to the board and to the public.