Proposed ‘nuisance’ rule heading for final vote


Joy Ufford

With the Sublette County Planning

and Zoning Board’s approval, the draft “nuisance regulations”

resolution will come before commissioners at their

Aug. 20 meeting for a vote.

The draft regulation was the subject of a May 9 public

workshop where residents asked many questions about enforcement,

privacy and value judgments about what different

people might judge suitable and “reasonable” for stored property.

The workshop was scheduled after a record number of

residents turned out at an earlier board meeting to complain

about proposed regulations.

Sublette County Planner Dennis Fornstrom initially

appeared before county commissioners asking for the

resolution’s approval at the Aug. 6 meeting. He assured commissioners

the workshop reviewed the regulations point for

point and concerns were addressed, including eliminating restrictions

on the number of inoperative vehicles.

The regulation was also reviewed again by the Planning

and Zoning Board and approved, 3-0.

Despite those assurances, commissioners stopped short of

approving the regulations and asked the item to be tabled until

the Aug. 20 meeting to give them more time and the public an

additional opportunity to comment.

Commissioner Joel Bousman said he felt the regulations

would be a “nightmare” to administer and enforce. He added

many of the proposed regulations are subjective and could be

used as weapons by feuding neighbors.

The new draft ordinance states, “The purpose of this resolution

is to protect and provide for the highest level of health,

safety and welfare for Sublette County citizens and to promote

and encourage maintenance of properties within Sublette

County.”

It designates the Sublette County Planning and Zoning Administrator

and/or the Sublette County Public Health Officer

to investigate and determine the existence of a nuisance.

Fornstrom said they hoped to shorten and clarify the draft

nuisance regulations, which they said are required by state

law, and they did. The new three-page document defines

“’Nuisance’ means any use or nonuse of property, real or personal,

which poses a threat to the life, safety or welfare of the

citizens of Sublette County.”

Defined “nuisances” include lack of screening – solid

fences, walls, berms, hedges or “other approved features.” A

prohibition against using “salvaged” materials was removed

“Accumulation” is another nuisance to be regulated – “the

unreasonable and dangerous massing or storing of material,

debris, matter or waste in a manner that exceeds quantities

that would commonly be considered reasonable or are significantly

inconsistent with surrounding properties and like uses

that adversely impacts neighboring properties.”

Nuisances can be determined as “unreasonable and dangerous

accumulation of animal manure, and/or waste products

that allow for breeding and propagation of insects, rodents, or

attracts vermin.”

Runoff of surface water from areas of accumulated animal

manure or waste products that adversely affects adjacent or

nearby properties is also a nuisance. Wording also prohibits

runoff “containing or discharging water that contains pollutants

that adversely affects neighboring properties.”

Unreasonable, prolonged and/or dangerous destabilizing of

the ground surface to cause unsafe conditions, dust or other

airborne matter that is offensive or dangerous to the public’s

health or safety and adversely affects neighboring properties

is also prohibited.

Discharge from a septic system or sewage onto the ground

or into waterways is considered a nuisance.

Accumulating debris, garbage, waste recyclables, scrap or

other junk material including combustible materials such as

paper litter, cardboard or paper, piles of weeds or shrubbery

trimmings, wood, straw, hay or grass, which could create a

potential fire hazard or allows insect or rodent propagation,

is banned.

The proposed regulation allows for exceptions including

farm and ranch operations pursuant to the Wyoming Right to

Farm and Ranch Act. Other exceptions include buildings that

have historical, ancestral or cultural value to the landowner;

properly stored firewood; compost piles and antique implements

that are used for decoration or landscaping.

Fornstrom said his office would enforce the regulations and

appeals will still go to commissioners for final settlement.

To read the proposed final version, A Resolution Adopting

Nuisance Regulations, go to the Sublette County home page

at http://www.sublettewyo.com/ and click on “Proposed Nuisance”

at the bottom.

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