by nathan oster
The Greybull Town Council continues to view the land it owns on Greybull River Road as prime real estate for potential light to medium industrial uses — and not as a location that would be suitable for residential development.
Several recent developments have driven the zoning discussion.
First and foremost among them is the fact that several people have expressed interest in building on the four town-owned lots lying directly west of what was formerly the Seventh Day Aventist Church and which is now the home of Scott Good.
At a recent Planning and Zoning meeting, Good lobbied for the lots to be zoned for residential uses. Determined to be 100 percent clean and outside of the contamination zone of the former BP Amoco refinery site, the lots are fronted by Greybull River Road.
Good lobbied the P&Z for a residential zoning designation, saying that they would be suitable for housing and that being completely surrounded by areas with industrial designations would negatively impact the value of his property.
Mayor Myles Foley brought a potential solution to the table on Feb. 9, saying that Cliff Manuel, who years ago had obtained land from the town directly east of Good’s home in the hopes of building a geoscience center, had given up his dream and turned the land back over to the town. Foley said that land could be zoned for residential uses.
Council members didn’t immediately back his proposal.
“I won’t get behind any residential up there,” said Councilman Clay Collingwood. “It’s just not a good idea. Even if these areas are clean, which they might be, right next door is something that isn’t.
“I have kids. I know, if a family were to build up there, where the kids are going to go. They are going to be playing right in the middle of it.”
It was noted that all four of the lots west of Good’s are being eyed for possible purchase.
While the zoning process is likely to last months, the council wanted to take some action to begin advertising for the sale of the lots. There will be deed restrictions staying no residential uses and no wells. The council voted in support. Planning and Zoning will take up the issue of what to do about the zoning of the lots directly east of Good’s home.
Jared Mowery, representing Pab Good Trucking, made an appeal to the council to reconsider its decision in January to withhold liquidated damages in the amount of $7,600 because the project didn’t wrap up on time.
Jake Nelson, representing Nelson Engineering, told the council in January that Pab Good Trucking got started late and finished late on the project, which involved extending town infrastructure to the site of the new U.S. Forest Service building south of town.
Wright said the delay increased the time an inspector needed to spend on site.
Nelson calculated that expense at 17 days, 118 hours of inspection time, for a total of $7,670.
Addressing the council on Feb. 9, Mowery acknowledged that the company got started late, but said it was unavoidable due to problems with late-arriving manholes. “We knew they’d be a holdup,” he said.
He said the first part of the project was, in fact, a “nightmare,” but questioned whether the town was negatively impacted in any way by the fact that the work didn’t get done on time.
“From when we started on Sept. 3 until we reached substantial completion on Oct. 22, we worked 39 days on the project,” said Mowery. “If we’d have started Aug. 5, and worked until substantial completion, we’d have been on site 40 days.”
With the USFS not yet in the building, he asked, “Were you really out that much?”
“Overall, the project went well,” he said. “Yes, there were some snags.”
The council didn’t vote to reconsider its January vote, effectively denying the request.
As he did in January, Clay Collingwood abstained, saying he had an interest in the project.
Council members also discussed a proposal to start meeting a second time every month to conduct business. Some of the larger communities in the area such as Powell, Cody and Worland, do, in fact, meet twice a month.
Following a directive, Administrator Paul Thur had prepared a document to bring about the change, but council members stopped short of approving it.
Kent Richins, the town attorney, said that on most occasions, he’d be unable to attend the second meeting of the month.
Councilmen Scott Mattis and Rod Collingwood raised concerns about the proposal, including the additional expense to the town (council members get paid by the meeting, $50, and staff members would need to devote additional time to preparing) as well as whether a second meeting is even needed.
Thur said that “about every other month” there seems to be a need for a special meeting.
The idea of holding a regular meeting on the second Monday and a workshop later in the month was also discussed. But Clay Collingwood said, “the problem with that is, we couldn’t carry out any business” in the form of an action.
Staff members estimated that it would take approximately half a day to prepare for a second monthly meeting.
Rather than taking any formal action, the council agreed to gather a second time for each of the next four months, just to see how it goes.