The issue of abandoning a subdivision and rezoning the area back to its original status was one of the main topics at the Carbon County Commission meeting last Wednesday.
A few years ago, a group of investors proposed building the French Quarter subdivision and the county approved a zoning change for the project on property near Wellington. After some of the infrastructure work had been done, the group's finances failed and the project was halted.
Not long ago, Gary Scow purchased the land and decided to turn the property back into a farm. To do that and raise animals, he needed the county commission to abandon the subdivision and rezone the property for full agricultural use.
Scow listed a number of reasons for asking the commission to abandon the subdivision and rezone the property. The reasons included the 23 residential water shares he needed for farming, sewer lines that could not be attached to the Price River Water Improvement District system and the fact that he probably couldn't sell one lot in the downturned economy.
The commission had no concerns about abandoning the subdivision. But when it came to rezoning the property back to the original status, there was a problem. The construction completed on the subdivision included sewer and water lines along with open trenches that had not been backfilled.
According to county building department official Dave Levanger, a letter of credit insuring the completion of the lines still exists. But the reasons for finishing the lines are gone.
Scow informed the commissioners that he had started backfilling the open trenches and will soon begin removing man hole vessels from the sewer lines.
PRWID representative Phil Palmer told the commission that the sewer lines did not meet the code. And the water lines were a mile and a quarter from where they could be hooked up to PRWID's system. He felt that the lines remaining in the ground would not be a problem.
Commissioner Mike Milovich had a problem with the idea of rezoning until certain conditions were met.
"I am concerned that if we abandon the subdivision and then rezone it, in a few years someone will come back and propose another subdivision there," pointed out Milovich. "Then they would want to reopen up and use that infrastructure. If they do that, the county might get caught in a problem with lines that we approved to be put in and don't work. I think these lines need to be plugged so they never can be used again."
Scow repeated the fact that he intended to pull the manholes and backfill so the lines could never work. He told the commission that the system was not set up properly and would not work even if it were activated, mainly because of its depth in the ground.
"That's what I am concerned about," reiterated Milovich. "Down the road, we could get stuck with a real problem."
The commissioners debated the matter, with various people from the audience commenting on the situation.
Finally, Carbon County Attorney Gene Strate suggested tabling the rezoning request while he looked for some kind of legal document to stop the lines from being used in the future.
The commissioners voted to wait for word from Strate before acting in the matter.
A second item that required a great deal of attention was the issue of Gordon Creek Road improvements. The area of concern involved an unpaved extension of the road that runs to the Shaman Lodge.
"That road has had more work done on it since the meeting in which you as commissioner decided no more would be done," stated Fred Davis, a resident of the area. "The way I figure it, another $8,000 to $9,000 has been spent on it and there are places where the county crews have widened it even more than before."
Davis presented photos to the commission showing the work that has been done.
The individuals who own the lodge have proposed a residential treatment center for youth, a move apparently many of the neighbors oppose. However, state law allows anyone to put a residential treatment center anywhere as long as all city and county codes are met.
In this case, one code the center would have to comply with is a regular county road. To do that, the road would need to be widened and improved.
In a previous meeting, commissioners admitted some improvements had been done to the road, but decided additional work would have to be approved on a case by case basis. Davis' contention was that work had been done after the prior meeting.
Also involved in the discussion was Steve Giacoletto, who owns the property next to the Shaman Lodge.
Giacoletto was concerned that the owners had also done some work on the road, widening it onto his property without his permission.
"They have widened it to the extreme as far as I am concerned," stated Giacoletto. "That road only had a 15-foot right of way and they are way past that now."
Davis asked the Carbon commissioners to look into the situation and the county lawmakers said they would.
Acting on other business matters, the county commission:
Approved a conditional use permit for gas wells for Phillips Petroleum on the Ray and Gale Jorgensen property.
Approved a conditional use permit for an eight-inch steel lateral natural gas pipeline across the Arthur Anderson property.
Approved an oil and gas lease for Anadarko Oil.
Approved a contract for the bookmobile for $75,032.
Opened bids for a used five -yard loader. The bids included G and O Incorporated, a 1988 Massey Ferguson, $30,000; Wheeler Machinery, a 2001 Cat, $225,780; Kamatsu Equipment, two machines priced at $196,200 and $137,600; and Scott Machinery, four loaders priced at $182,261, $126,500, $161,357 and $180,865. The commissioners decided to have Ray Hanson review the bids and make a recommendation for final approval.
Agreed to evaluate the need for the stop signs installed at the intersection of 4100 North and 1900 West in Spring Glen. The county's decision was based on a petition from local residents.
Approved county govern-ment's final 2002 budget.