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
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
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,
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.