County rejects land policy
New Committee will start over
by Cat Urbigkit
December 20, 2006
The Sublette County Commission unanimously voted to reject its draft federal land policy document, following the 5-0 recommendation of the county planning and zoning commission.
The P&Z Commission also recommended that the county commission appoint a committee to develop a Sublette County federal land use policy.
Commissioner Bill Cramer said although he had voted to hire the consultant to draft the federal land use policy the public is so unhappy with, and said that he still believes the county needs such a policy, “it appears that this is not the one.”
“Going forward, I think we do need a federal land policy,” Cramer said, also speaking in support of the appointment of a committee of county residents to develop such a policy.
Commission Chair Betty Fear cautioned her fellow commissioners that even if a committee is appointed to work on the issue, “This won’t be a quick fix … it’s going to take some time.”
Cramer noted that the land use plan developed by Fremont County has some good components, so the committee “will not have to start at zero.”
Commissioner-elect Joel Bousman said that the committee could take the draft plan rejected by the commission “and lay it beside Fremont County’s plan and then work forward.”
“It will take some time,” Bousman agreed, adding that until then, the commission can address issues by resolution on a case-by-case basis.
Fear noted that any committee appointed to draft a policy must be a broadly based group.
Linn said in his view, “The sad thing is that this was a great opportunity.” He said that he “is disappointed that this is the way this came out.”
“This was an honest effort at getting some kind of policy before the agencies,” Linn said, noting that for instance, the Bureau of Land Management is pushing forward is revision to the resource management plan.
“The problem is we’re not ready now,” Linn said, noting that there is no one else representing the county’s socio-economic interests and concerns as the federal land planning process moves forward.
Linn said he was also unhappy that comments on the county’s draft plan resulted in personal attacks on both himself and the consultant who drafted the policy.
“We’re needing to address these issues now, not for the next RMP re-write,” Linn said.
Linn made a motion to advertise for committee members to begin working on the plan, but Cramer refused to second the motion. Cramer noted that Fear will soon be leaving the commission, and with Bousman coming on in January, that would be the time to begin addressing the issue.
The commission disagreed about whether to form the committee at this point, or even how many people should serve on the committee. In the end, the commission decided to solicit applicants to serve on the committee.