What a gas
Saratoga Planning Commission discusses proposed propane facility south of town
January 20, 2021
The, currently, two member Saratoga Planning Commission had a gas during their January 12 meeting as they discussed, among other things, the proposed location for Blakeman Propane’s bulk propane storage facility south of Saratoga.
With no council representative at the moment, newly-seated Councilmember Ben Spaulding and newly-appointed Mayor Creed James sat in the audience to provide their input. Along with the propane facility, the planning commission also discussed a potential zone change for Octagon Construction and changes to the inspection process proposed by Alex Dorsey and Andrew Meyers, who are both currently contracted by the Town of Saratoga.
As was reported previously (see “Understanding setbacks and permits” on page 3 of the December 16, 2020 Saratoga Sun), planning commission member Tom Westring informed the rest of the advisory board that he had been approached by a representative from Blakeman Propane in regards to their project.
While the project is outside of town limits, it falls within the “zone of influence” established by the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Town of Saratoga and Carbon County. On December 30, a public notice ran in the Saratoga Sun advertising a public hearing for both a zone change and a setback variance on property owned by Arthur Ingleby.
Discussion over the location saw Spaulding and Dorsey both express concern over public safety. For Spaulding, that concern came in regards to what Blakeman Propane had for a fire prevention plan. Dorsey, meanwhile, had concerns about the proximity of the proposed site to Wyoming Highway 130.
“When you take a look at it, it’s roughly 60 feet off the road, which is pretty close. When you pull it up on the plot map, this two acres that they’re looking at does have a dirt road running through, roughly, the middle of it north to south,” said Dorsey. “I would like to see that propane tank located on this back, northwest corner. That’s going to take it off the road some more.”
Those safety concerns appear to be valid as Dorsey informed the planning commission that the bulk storage facility would have two 30,000 gallon propane tanks on site.
Another concern, this one raised by Dennis Goodwin as a member of the public, was the busy nature of Wyoming Highway 130 around the turn-off for the proposed site. The current turn-off into property owned by Ingleby sits between the 40 mile per hour and 55 mile per hour speed limit signs. Goodwin suggested that the Wyoming Department of Transportation look into installing acceleration and deceleration lanes to better accommodate Blakeman Propane and for public safety.
“I don’t want it to come off that we don’t want this up there,” said Spaulding. “I think it would be great. Just making sure that we’re taking care of the people in the area.”
While comments from the Town of Saratoga were due to Carbon County on January 13, the public hearing will be held at 10 a.m. on February 1 at 215 West Buffalo Street, Room 368.
As Octagon Construction continues to move forward with development of subdivisions above Saratoga, the company is now looking at rezoning a portion of the subdivision. As was reported previously (see “Sign of the times” on page 6 of the August 19, 2020 Saratoga Sun), there had been discussion of a zone amendment for property zoned RD 9000 that was bordered by two areas zoned RD 7200.
According to Goodwin and Kristen Stocks, it was only a portion of that RD 9000 area that they were looking to amend and it would be changed to Retail Business.
“I’ve no issues with it. I think it’s a good spot. I’ve spoken with these guys from Octagon, what they’re looking to do,” Dorsey said. “The only question I ever had for them was ‘What are you putting up and how’s it going to look?’ It’s going to be storage sheds but, talking to them, they’re going to do a nice job, it’s going to be fenced.”
The portion that Octagon Construction is hoping to rezone borders the town limits. While Westring stated he was unsure if the MOU between Saratoga and the County required notification on the Town’s part, Dorsey stated that he had already been in contact with Marlin Johnson, director of Carbon County Planning and Zoning.
Dorsey added that all property owners within a 300 foot radius had been notified of the proposed zone amendment and, as of the meeting, there had been no objections. The next step for Octagon Construction will be a public hearing at the February meeting of the Saratoga Planning Commission followed by a public hearing at a meeting of the Saratoga Town Council.
On The Same Page
Finally, under the zoning officer’s report, Dorsey informed the Saratoga Planning Commission that both he and Meyers had worked together to develop a checklist for contractors and homeowners in regards to building inspections.
“I think a lot of people know it, a lot of contractors know it, there’s so much variation in what’s been going on, in what people are looking for,” said Dorsey. “Basically, what myself and Andrew put together is a simple list of ‘This is what you guys need to do’. This is what we’re coming in to look for. When we show up, what pressures they need to be holding at for various inspections.”
Dorsey added that the inspections would include slab on grade foundations, which consists of a slab of concrete on graded ground.
“I’ve never been called for an inspection for an underground and I don’t know if that’s just kind of the way it’s been but if it’s underground it still needs to be tested before it’s covered up,” Dorsey said. “This is the way that everybody gets on the same page.”
Other upcoming changes to the inspection process include a schedule for both Dorsey and Meyers of when they are available so that contractors and homeowners can plan ahead for their inspections. Dorsey stated that he had received a number of “day of” inspection requests since contracting with the Town and was considering a “day of” fee for such instances.
Additionally, Dorsey and Meyers would be working towards a more accessible database on inspected properties which would include photos taken by both contracted inspectors uploaded to computers and placed in property files for future reference.
The next meeting of the Saratoga Planning Commission will be at 5:30 p.m. on February 9 at Saratoga Town Hall.