Big Piney hears proposal for commercial lease

File photo

SUBLETTE COUNTY – A woman hoping to renovate and run her business from a room in a town-owned building brought her proposal to the Big Piney Town Council at its Sept. 19 meeting.

Cosmetologist Shelby Kumar presented Mayor Shane Voss and councilmembers Dalin Hughes, Tawnya Miller, Kinsey Voss and Sierra Banks with a sketch of her proposal to install plumbing and replace the floor in the town’s adjacent building at 415 Budd Ave.

Kumar said she currently shares a station with Banks one day a week and would like her own space. She approached the mayor last week about possibly renting an office in the same building as the nonprofit SAFV, which pays nominal rent to the town, as have previous tenants such as High Country Behavioral Health and A Woman’s Work.

High Country has in the past renewed the office lease for nominal rent. Kumar said, “It looks pretty deserted.”

She said SAFV Director Mandi Moffat told her a hairdressing business would not interfere with SAFV’s clients. The office in question needs running water piped through a wall and new flooring per state standards that Kumar would pay for.

Parks/ streets supervisor Kara Losik mentioned that in winter, snow and ice slide from the building roof into the courtyard and access could be difficult to keep clear.

Code officer Greg Eiden said the offices are generally leased to nonprofits and asked Kumar if she explored private commercial possibilities. He said the town might be unfairly enabling competition.

“What does it matter if she has,” Banks said, adding she welcomes the competition. “It would be a lease to generate money for the town.”

Eiden said local governments shouldn’t be involved in competition, pointing to the Marbleton Senior Center’s sales of meals that take business from local restaurants.

Mayor Voss said they “could make sure it’s kosher with everybody.”

Councilmember Voss double-checked that SAFV clients’ confidentiality would not be disturbed.

“I’m already losing this battle,” Eiden said. “Go ahead and vote for it.”

Voss proposed tabling discussion until the October meeting; town attorney Doug Mason said the council could talk about “the concept” of terms and contracts in executive session, which was not on the agenda.

“Can we approve the concept tonight because I am all for the town generating money,” Banks said.

The council approved Voss’s agenda amendment for an executive session to discuss legal matters. They returned without taking action and adjourned.

In other Big Piney news, the town’s ordinances went off to American Legal to be checked for consistency and updated, a 6-month process.

Eiden said if the current ordinances are “still standing” he will follow them until the new versions are returned. He suggested a large map of Big Piney’s municipal street rights-of-way because homeowners have different setbacks. Many owners don’t realize they are responsible for maintaining some of them, he added.

Eiden also asked how to proceed with eyesore properties that are not being cleaned up. “I need someone who can write citations; you decide what you want me to do. Is it the sheriff’s office duty or not?”

Miller advised contacting the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office in Marbleton as “the next step in the process. I think we should do that.”

Water/sewer supervisor Mike Wagstaff reported a final walk-through on the Nichols Street repair project. The town’s sewer lagoons are closed and all wastewater is piped to Marbleton’s wastewater facility.

Wagstaff toured Pinedale’s wastewater treatment plant, working on the design phase of Big Piney’s planned chlorine generation facility.

Losik reported repairs to snow-removal equipment that took a beating last winter; she leased a compressor trailer to blow out parks’ sprinkler systems. At Centennial Park, work will begin to install power for RV towers, and Losik asked if she could swap projects to replace the park’s sprinkler system instead of trying to patch it.

Digging for underground electric will be 24 inches deep; sprinkler lines 12 inches deep, she said. Cheeney Landscaping had estimated replacement at $20,000 and Mason said projects over $5,000 need to go out to bid so the town will prepare a notice.