The Saratoga Sun -

Zoning officer & alerts

Saratoga council hires new zoning officer, hears about different types of alerts


After going through routine business on the agenda, the Saratoga Town Council stopped to discuss Dan Ferrin, the new zoning officer hired by the town, and the impacts the position will have.

Council members hope filling the position—which went unfilled for several months—will mitigate or eliminate the sorts of conflicts that recently erupted over a Colorado-based contractor beginning a new building without receiving proper clearance from the Saratoga Water and Sewer Joint Powers Board (sewer board) and others.

The new part time zoning officer will be responsible for the issue of permits for buildings and fences, as well as inspecting construction projects underway to ensure compliance with town building codes.

Council members also expressed hope that having Ferrin, an experienced civil engineer, fill the position will be helpful to the council by helping it streamline the permitting process, and make necessary changes to the building codes where needed.

At the meeting, the town council also heard a presentation from members of the Wyoming Department of Homeland Security. The representatives of Homeland Security were in town to fill in board members on programs that might be helpful in the event of a flood or other civil disaster.

Though present snowpack conditions in the mountains surrounding the Valley are not highly conducive to spring flooding in the area, Homeland Security is concerned about the flood risks in other parts of the state and wants to ensure municipalities are aware of the sorts of tools available to towns to help them coordinate in the event of catastrophe.

Council members were briefed on IPAWS, the Integrated Public Alert Warning System. IPAWS is a computer based warning system that allows town officials to issue warnings and pass on critical information to citizens. The program, overseen by FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The IPAWS system broadcasts critical emergency information to citizens by a variety of means, including phone, radio, television and text messages.

The Code Red system, which is landline-based, works similarly and is used to issue evacuation orders and other critical information such as Amber Alerts. However, according to Homeland Security, even though Saratoga takes part in the system, most are unaware they must sign up to receive alerts.

Those interested can sign up for county alerts on the city of Rawlins website. For Saratoga alerts, residents will have to go to the town hall and sign up.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Saratoga Town Council will be 6 p.m. May 2 at the Saratoga Town Hall Building. A special public comment session will be held at 5:30 p.m., May 4 at the Platte Valley Community Center. That meeting will be to allow members of the public to voice concerns over the annexation of the U.S. Forest Service property south of town limits.


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