Carbon commissioners decide drilling equipment entry issue
In most cases, the approval of conditional use permits for gas well development readily passes through the hands of the Carbon County commissioners during a regular meeting.
The fact that the appointed planning and zoning board examines and works out most of the bugs in a conditional use permit proposal before the issue is addressed by elected officials streamlines the process.
But last Wednesday night, the relatively routine procedure was disrupted when the commission addressed the issue of a development well in Carbonville.
The conditional use permit was requested by Petrogulf Corporation for gas well development on private property owned by the Marsing family partnership near the east side of the bypass road.
It appeared most of the details were in order when the public hearing opened last Wednesday. But one thing apparently changed after the planning and zoning board reviewed the application - the land owners wanted entry to the well from the south. The concept reviewed by the county planners showed the entry of trucks and equipment from the north of the property.
"While meeting with the planning commission, it appeared to me the entry to that site was going to come off of Carbonville Road, not from the south," noted Commissioner Mike Milovich.
Milovich represents the county commission on the planning and zoning board.
"The hottest issue in this whole process was how to get to the well site," explained Larry Jensen of Nelco Construction, the company putting in the access for the well.
"We worked closely with the canal company on the proposal for the two bridges across the canal. The fact is that the owners wanted the access from the north rather than the south," added Jensen.
After the commissioners discussed the situation, the lawmakers concluded that the best equipment entry route would be from Carbonville Road rather than 1660 North. The second, smaller street runs between Westwood and Carbonville Road.
"I think we just need to minimize traffic on that other road," pointed out Commissioner Bill Krompel, referring to the church and mobile home park that exist on the street.
A couple of the people in the group concurred that Carbonville Road would be the better of the two.
One of the individuals noted that, while it was in bad shape after last year's pipeline construction, Carbonville Road was still the better alternative.
In the end, the conditional use permit was approved, but the commission insisted that the northern access be the one that the company utilize.
An unrelated item on the meeting agenda involved the commission's approval of a contract with Jerry Barkley and Justin Bosone for maintenance services at the softball fields near the county fairgrounds.
However, the contract had several potential problems, according to George Harmond, deputy county attorney.
"I question if this contract is legal or not," stated Harmond. "One of the paragraphs in here says that county insurance will cover them. But the only people covered by county insurance are county employees."
"To make someone a county employee, we need to follow certain procedures," pointed out Harmond.
The contract was apparently drawn up by an individual in recreation. Krompel had tentatively approved the contract, contingent upon a review by the county attorneys office.
"The situation was such that we didn't have a contract last year, even though the performed the work," said Krompel. "How can we bring them on then?"
Harmond told the commission he was concerned about the fact that the contract was brought to his office after it was signed.
"The intent was to have you review it all along," pointed out Krompel.
Milovich suggested that, since the men work for Carbon Country Club, that the county might be able to contract with them and pay them through that organization.
"That could handle the workers compensation insurance," stated Milovich.
Harmond was instructed to review the contract and determine if something could be worked out with the country club.
The commission also opened sealed bids for mosquito and weed chemicals that will be used this year.
The bids included dozens of chemicals, all in different volumes, forms and packages, so the direct price at the bid opening was not discussed, but will be referred to Mike Johnson, county weed and mosquito abatement control manager for analysis.
The companies bidding included Wilbur Ellis, UAP Timberland, Intermountain Farmers Association and Fenimore Chemical.
Three companies submitted bids by FAX, which officials thought did not fit the request for bids as advertised.
But the commission decided to set aside the bids from Univar USA, UAP Northwest and Steve Regan Company until their validity could be determined.
The commission also turned down a request for an alcoholic beverage license for a wedding planned at the fairgrounds community center.
"We had visions when we built that center that it would remain nonalcoholic, so it's use would not infringe on private businesses in the county," stated Milovich.
Finally, Ken Kirkwood gave a report to the commissioners on the status of the rebuilding project on the motocross track at the county fairgrounds.
"I want you to know that the contractor did everything the way we expected them to do it and the track is ready for the off road races on April 5 and 6," commented Kirkwood. "We expect hundreds of racers for this event."
He said the event - part of the world off -road championship series - would draw hundreds of riders into the Carbon County area.
"Right now, we are leaving the track closed to use until it gets packed in," added Kirkwood.