Preliminary plats for subdivisions approved
PINEDALE – The Pinedale Town Council unanimously approved preliminary plats for two proposed subdivisions within Pinedale town limits – the Wind River Resorts First Addition and the Bloomfield Addition, Block 6 – at its Feb. 27 regular meeting.
Council members also passed multiple variance requests for both of the proposed developments before
authorizing the preliminary plats.
Approximately two dozen community members attended the public hearing for the planned subdivisions. While the public raised concerns about specific aspects of each project, particularly water rights and access points, none of the individuals attending the council meeting voiced an objection to the overall project plans.
The preliminary plats for both Wind River Resorts and the Bloomfield Addition, Block 6, met all town requirements regarding timelines, public hearings, advertisements and notification, said Chad Mitchell, Pinedale’s planning and zoning administrator.
The Pinedale Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the council approve the preliminary plat for Wind River Resorts First Addition by a 3-1 vote following a public hearing on Feb. 15. The preliminary plat for the Bloomfield Addition, Block 6, received the green light with a 4-0 vote from the Planning and Zoning Commission on Feb. 22.
Both of the preliminary plats approved by the town council on Feb. 27 contain conditions that both developers must meet before the town can issue a final plat. Each condition was based on input from town staff and the public.
Wind River Resorts and Jason Moyes, owner of Bloomfield Addition, Block 6, now have up to one year to complete a final plat application, said Mayor Matt Murdock. Developers may bond their projects to complete the final plat application process in less than one year, though this option incurs higher project costs, Murdock added.
A preliminary plat serves as a “final rough draft” for each proposed subdivision, Murdock told the Roundup.
The conditions and recommendations on each preliminary plat enable the town to address certain concerns – including public safety, traffic safety and connectivity, natural resources like Barber Creek and the municipal storm water system – before considering a final plat, Murdock explained. The process also allows opportunities for further public input, he added, and time for the developer to prepare financing for the project.
Developers cannot begin construction on a new subdivision until the final plat receives approval, Murdock said.
The council passed a unanimous motion to “postpone” discussion of a preliminary plat another Bloomfield property owned by Jason Moyes at the request of the petitioner.
Wind River Resorts
Chauncey Goodrich, representing Wind River Resorts, outlined plans to construct a five-star, Class A motorcoach resort on 27.27 acres north of Pinedale Elementary School.
Designated 5-star motorcoach resorts offered “substantial benefits, both aesthetically and financially” to the town of Pinedale, Goodrich told the council. He estimated that the resort would pump an additional $800,000 into the local economy and employ up to 10 people.
The resort would only operate during summer months, eliminating the need for the town to provide winter maintenance, Goodrich noted. Wind River Resorts worked hard to develop “good relations” with neighboring landowners and the Sublette County School District No. 1 (SCSD1), Goodrich added.
Kirk Hoover, a resident with land located outside town limits to the west, claimed that the town failed to notify him about the development. He requested the town compel Wind River Resorts to join the Ehman Valley Road Maintenance Agreement to help keep roads in the vicinity in good condition.
The town followed state statute in advertising public hearings about Wind River Resorts and notifying neighbors within a certain distance of the proposed resort, said Mayor Murdock.
Wind River Resorts initially unveiled plans to develop a 5-star, Class A motorcoach resort in January 2022, when the town council began discussing Ordinance 695, designating a new recreation resort development district zone that would allow construction of a motorcoach resort.
The town could not obligate a developer to join a road maintenance agreement, said town attorney Ed Wood.
Resident Byron Brown raised concerns about increased traffic on McLoughlin Lane due to the existence of a luxury motorcoach resort.
Councilmembers passed several variance requests permitting Wind River Resorts to extend Katherine Hill Drive from Ehman Lane to Buckboard Road, spanning the length of Pinedale Elementary School. The SCSD9 Board of Trustees granted an easement request for Wind River Resorts to build the new portion of Katherine Hill Drive, said Mitchell.
Wind River Resort’s primary access point would be Katherine Hill Drive, said Mitchell, rather than McLoughlin Lane. Lengthening Katherine Hill Drive will improve connectivity and alleviate congestion for the school district, resort residents and neighbors, Mitchell remarked.
Tesa Manning, an adjacent landowner, asked the council to consider water rights for the Little Colorado Ditch running through the proposed resort property. She also voiced apprehension about the seasonality of the resort and whether Wind River Resorts intended to restrict the use of its property to 180 days.
The motion passed by the council on Feb. 27 included the condition that the developer comply with state statute concerning “existing water rights” before a final plat can be considered.
Goodrich stressed his intention to operate the resort from the middle of May to the end of September.
Conditions in the Wind River Resorts preliminary plat included a requirement that the restrictive covenants for residents at Wind River Resorts meet Pinedale town code. The motion also set the condition that Wind River Resorts enter into “good faith negotiations” to join the Ehman Valley Road Maintenance Agreement.
Bloomfield Addition, Block 6
Moyes discussed plans to subdivide 8.97 acres of land south of Pinedale Elementary School along Barber Creek into 36 lots for single-family homes with “green space” and ponds.
Moyes and his wife began their real-estate career approximately 20 years ago and built more than 1,300 homes in rural communities over the last two decades, he said.
Moyes named his proposed subdivision “Pronghorn Crossing.”
Homes at Pronghorn Crossing could be eligible for “affordable financing” offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) through affiliation with Moyes’ company, he explained. Moyes clarified that he was not building “low-income housing.”
Sales prices for lots and homes at Pronghorn Crossing are yet to be determined, Moyes said.
The USDA offers programs that lowered mortgage payments and provided subsidized interest rates to qualifying homeowners, Moyes said.
Under the USDA’s “affordable financing” program, the estimated mortgage payment for a house with a $400,000 purchase price could be as low as $1,500 per month, Moyes explained, promoting “homeownership for the same price as the rent of a two-bedroom apartment” in Pinedale.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines “affordable housing” as “housing on which the occupant is paying no more than 30 percent of gross income for housing costs, including utilities.”
An individual or family would need to earn a minimum of $5,000 monthly, or $28.84 per hour based on a 40-hour work week, to afford a monthly mortgage payment of $1,500.
The USDA’s “affordable financing” program contained “extensive rules” to encourage people to stay in their homes, promote “stabilization” in the local housing market and prevent homeowners from flipping the property, Moyes continued.
The only public comment made during the Feb. 27 hearing on the Bloomfield Addition, Lot 6, came from Pinedale resident Peggy Weber. She worried that the ponds planned for the subdivision were wasteful during a time of water scarcity.
Mayor Murdock explained that the ponds would actually improve drainage along Barber Creek, preventing ice dams that led to the closing of the pedestrian bridge.
Conditions to the motion granting the preliminary plat approval to Bloomfield Addition, Block 6, included compliance with Wyoming state statutes regarding existing water rights.
Approval was also “contingent” on findings and recommendations from a traffic impact study to ensure safety concerns are addressed at the intersection of Highway 191 and Bloomfield Avenue in compliance with Wyoming Department of Transportation regulations. On-street parking was prohibited in the subdivision, and the developer must implement an “effective method” to prevent vehicle access from properties off Buckboard Road and Bloomfield Avenue.