Proposed ‘nuisance’ rule heading for its final vote


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 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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