Pinedale Town Council takes on a Town smoking ban and prohibiting idling trucks
Votes to write a letter to Sublette Commissioners in opposition to QEP zone change request
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
July 27, 2010
Here are reporterís notes of highlights of the Monday, July 26, 2010 Pinedale Town Council meeting. In attendance were Town Councilpersons David Smith, Nylla Kunard, David Hohl and Chris House, Pinedale Mayor Stephen Smith, and Pinedale Town Clerk-Treasurer Patty Racich. The public seating area was filled with audience members.
Proposed Smoking Ban ordinance
The Pinedale Town Council voted to start the process of having an ordinance written to ban smoking in public places in Pinedale. The proposed ordinance was initiated by Town Councilman David Smith. "You know what? Smoking sucks!" he said. "Smoking is killing a lot of old people around here. I donít want to be forced to breathe smoke when I go into an establishment." He added, "Kicking and screaming, we're going into the 21st Century."
The Council unanimously voted to have town attorney Ed Wood draft an ordinance to ban smoking in all public places within incorporated Pinedale. There also was discussion to have the ordinance set a certain distance from doorways of public places where smoking would be prohibited to keep people from congregating in entry ways for a puff, for example, prohibiting smoking within 15 feet of the doorway of a bar.
When asked to clarify "all public places" and whether or not that included sidewalks, town parks, and private businesses, Dave Smith said his intent was to ban smoking from "indoor places" such as bars, grills, coffee shops, restaurants and grocery stores.
It is not clear if an ordinance would be legal if it singled out certain kinds of businesses and did not apply to others, or all Pinedale businesses. Any new ordinance must have three public readings where changes could be made to the wording or the decision made to not progress with the ordinance to another reading.
The Town Council vote was unanimous to approve Dave Smithís motion for a Pinedale smoking ban ordinance.
Public Hearing on 2010 Community Development Block Grant Program/Downtown Master Plan
Pinedale Planning & Zoning Administrator Kate Grimes told the Town Council the Town needs to have a downtown Masterplan in order to apply for any grants. She said her grant application includes pretty much everything that has been discussed in the "Mainstreet" program talks over past months. The downtown Masterplan would have three parts:
Phase I: Street lighting, signs, crosswalks, landscaping, benches, trashcans, etc.
Phase II: New codes and Ordinances to improve downtown sustainability. This would include architectural guidelines for faÁade improvements.
Phase III: A market analysis for downtown sustainability to position Pinedale for the tourism market.
Grimes said there would be public participation and meetings for input into what should and shouldnít go into downtown Pinedale. She has budgeted $30,000 for contract labor.
One audience member asked if this project would mean the Town would be telling her what she had to do with her property? Mayor Smith said "No".
The Council unanimously approved a motion for $50,000 toward submission of the grant application for downtown development.
Idling truck resolution
After the Town Council meeting had adjourned and some of the audience had left, citizen Kenny Becker asked to bring up one other concern he had: Idling diesel trucks. He said he was frustrated with people who left their trucks idling "24-7" causing pollution and adding to local ozone problems. He wanted the Town Council to make a resolution that people canít leave their diesel engines idling for more than 5 to 10 minutes. Town Councilman David Smith strongly agreed. Town Councilman Dave Hohl suggested posting "No Idling" signs around town. Pinedale Mayor Stephen Smith said he would ask attorney Ed Wood to draw up a resolution to address that too.
(Reporterís Note: In a conversation with Mayor Smith after the meeting asking about the legality of the idling truck resolution sequence of events after the meeting had adjourned, he said it wasnít an "action item" so didnít have to have a vote by the Council. He said he could call up the town attorney at any time and ask him to draft up a resolution on anything.)
Letter of Opposition to QEP rezone request The Town Council voted to draft a resolution to write a letter to the Sublette County Commissioners in opposition to the rezone request proposal by QEP Energy for land south of Pinedale to build a new office building and industrial yard.
Councilwoman Nylla Kunard expressed concerns about spot zoning and said she would like to see a conservation easement down the whole length of the river to protect wildlife.
Councilman Dave Hohl said he didnít object to the office space, but he had concerns over the industrial part of the proposal. He also commented he felt the Town Council had "dropped the ball" and not done their part by making more large tract commercial areas available where these kinds of projects can be built within the town limits of Pinedale.
Councilman David Smith said he felt there were other places better suited for this proposal and he was still strongly opposed to it.
Councilman Chris House was in support of the QEP proposal. He was the only dissenting vote on the motion for a resolution to write a letter in opposition to the Sublette County Commissioners. He said in his conversations with the public, he is hearing a 3-to-1 ratio of people in favor of the proposal.
Five audience members voiced opposition to the QEP zone change request, citing riparian area corridor concerns; negative visual impacts due to the appearance of the facility which would hurt tourism in Pinedale since this is the "gateway" into the town; loss of property values; a fear the project would create ground water contamination into the New Fork River resulting in "dead fish, dead birds, and no game"; and opposition by one adjacent landowner.
No members of the audience spoke up in favor of the QEP proposal.
(Reporterís Note: This project is outside of Pinedale Town limits, therefore the Town has no power of authority over the zone change request decision. It will be considered and decided by the Sublette County Commissioners, and is scheduled to be discussed on August 19th.)
Funding for SERC
The Sublette Economic Resource Council (SERC) agenda item was withdrawn from the nightís meeting, so there was no discussion about it as a line item. During the presentation of bills, approval for funding for SERC was bundled in a single general vote for approval for funding covering a number of agencies and projects. Town Councilman Dave Smith voted "No" on approval of all the funding requests, singling out SERC as the only reason for his dissenting vote. The other council members voted yes to approve funding for all, so it passed for all, including SERC.