SUBLETTE COUNTY – Owners of the Hoback Rim Station and hundreds of adjacent acres will appear before the Sublette County Planning & Zoning Commission on Thursday, Sept. 15.
Jason and Melinda Moyes seek approval for a “public facility” conditional use permit (CUP) for their proposed Sanctuary Lodge, a “state-of-the-art trauma therapy for girls and young women” needing long-term treatment programs and couples in short-term settings.
The envisioned Sanctuary Lodge, on 614 acres west along Highway 191 by Sargent Lane, would be a private treatment center, according to the Moyes’ master plan. It would create its own water system and build a future pond for wildlife, fire suppression and county use, according to the CUP.
The owners chose to request a conditional use permit for a public facility rather than trying to change zoning, the application says.
Sanctuary Lodge hopes to qualify as a “public facility” with its design as a “rehabilitation facility (which) means an outpatient or residential facility which is operated for the primary purpose of assisting the rehabilitation of disabled persons including persons with acquired brain injury by providing comprehensive medical evaluations and services, psychological and social services, or vocational evaluations and training or any combination of these services and in which the major portion of the services is furnished within the facility,” it says.
The facility would be about 20,000 square feet with two levels, making a total area of 32,000 square feet. It would a residential treatment program for up to 32 youths at one time, for 90 days, year-round. It would also offer a “couples therapy retreat program” for up to six couples staying three to five days, with use planned six to 12 times a year during summer, it says.
Staff would be about 35 people in the daytime and five at night; “it is projected that staff will sleep and shower offsite.” It would offer “safety, seclusion and solitude” and also be “virtually unnoticeable to highway users and surrounding landowners.”
“The (Moyes) has justifiably invested significant time and energy into designing a treatment facility that will mesh well with the natural environment and topography that the site offers,” it says.
“The scope of therapies provided at the Sanctuary will include equine therapy, art therapy, music therapy, recreational therapy (rope courses, gardening, etc.) as well as other experiential and traditional talk therapies.”
The outdoor therapeutic activities would not be “commercial by definition,” it says.
A 1,500-square-foot chapel is planned as well as a greenhouse, rage room, small storage, trash receptacles, pump house, horse corrals and tack sheds. “A ropes course and temporary outfitter style camp are also planned for use as part of the therapeutic treatment process.”
The Moyes planned ahead by applying for and receiving a WYDOT permit for “commercial access,” with an estimated maximum total daily trips of 63 vehicles.
In describing how the Sanctuary would meet CUP criteria, the facility would partner with SAFV; the closest similar teen trauma center is in Powell, it says.
“However, the Sanctuary Lodge itself is not meant for use by the general public and is intended to be operated in a seclusive manner, protecting the confidentiality that patients require and maintaining a quiet atmosphere,” it says.
The owner “is open to working with Wyoming Game and Fish biologists to coordinate construction schedules” regarding greater sage-grouse (it is not in sage-grouse core area) as well as mule deer and pronghorn migration.
For the lodge’s water, an estimated 610,000 gallons will be needed. The Sanctuary would create its own water and wastewater systems.
Sublette County zoning regulations allow “public facilities” as a conditional use of ag-zoned land. “Public facilities” are then defined as “all government buildings, schools, houses of worship, hospitals, nursing homes, libraries, day care centers, parks and other similar public or quasi-public uses.”
The application further narrows “hospital” down as an institution offering medical diagnosis and treatment, treatment of injured, disabled or sick persons, rehab services, acute care or swing beds.
Rio Verde Engineering prepared the application and master plan. The Sublette County Planning & Zoning Office staff report found the proposed private treatment facility meets its objectives.
The Hoback Basin Coalition, which opposed the zoning change for Joe Ricketts’ Jackson Fork Ranch destination resort rezoning, sent out its concerns about wildlife and water to Bondurant residents this week.
“The property is currently zoned A-1 (agricultural), and much of it is designated by Wyoming Game and Fish as part of the designated Sublette Mule Deer Migration corridor (see attached). The property also overlaps moose crucial winter yearlong range corridor. Furthermore, the project area provides winter yearlong, spring and fall habitat for elk. If there were a designated pronghorn migration corridor, it would overlap as well. The property also abuts US Fish and Wildlife Service-designated endangered Canadian Lynx habitat.
“Many Hoback Ranch residents have a tough time with adequate water supply. The proposal estimates that they will consume 610,000 gallons/year. No information is supplied to determine how this consumption might affect an individual’s existing residential water well and water rights.”
The Hoback Basin Coalition asked concerned neighbors to attend the Sublette County P&Z Commission meeting on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 6 p.m. in the Commissioners Meeting Room, 21 S. Tyler Ave., Pinedale.
From there, the Moyes’ CUP application goes before the Sublette County Board of Commissioners at its Tuesday, Oct. 4, meeting at 1 p.m. in the same room.
For more information, contact county planner Dennis Fornstrom at [email protected]
*Editor's note: A previous version of this article stated, "The Sublette Mule Deer Corridor crossing the property makes 'medium use' of habitat and stopovers, according to an accompanying map." "Medium" and "low" uses of the routes are not restricted on private property.