Projects await councilors
By Benjamin Graham, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
November 16, 2012
Developers working on Snow King Mountain improvements will not be able to get town approval this year.
The improvements, for which quick approval was sought, have been taken off the town council’s agenda until after newly elected officials take their seats Jan. 7.
Proponents of a second project, a three-story greenhouse adjacent to the town parking garage, have also decided to wait for the new council. Those working on both projects said it was a matter of timing.
Developers at the town hill were trying to get an OK for a zip line down the mountain so they could build it before Christmas, said Manuel Lopez of Snow King Mountain Recreation LLC.
In an effort to meet the schedule, a last-minute council meeting was announced Monday afternoon for 8 a.m. Tuesday, with the sole purpose of discussing the zip line.
Only Mayor Mark Barron and councilor Bob Lenz showed up. The issue was then put off to this Monday’s council meeting. Lopez then withdrew the project.
Lopez said Thursday the zip line will come before the council in 2013 when new councilors Hailey Morton and Jim Stanford take their seats. The council will also appoint a member to replace councilor Melissa Turley, who was successful in her bid for the Teton County Commission.
The zip line would begin and end on town property, which is leased to Lopez’s group.
“I met with the town, the planning department, the ski club and CMI to get the zip line done for Christmas,” Lopez said Thursday. “We didn’t hear any objections from anyone. Everyone was working together. I had it in my mind that, at the last meeting when we couldn’t get the quorum, that the zip line was going to have to wait.”
A similar issue occurred with a proposed mid-mountain building for Snow King.
Town council was supposed to decide Monday about applying for two, $1.5 million state grants to build the mid-mountain cabin and the greenhouse.
The deadline for the grants is Dec. 1. Lopez’s group wouldn’t have been ready to submit an application.
“It’s better just to do it later,” he said. “We were at the end of the window for the application.”
Lopez presented plans for the building to the council at a meeting in October, but officials wanted more details on the project’s finances and easements.
The founders of Vertical Harvest said they would have been ready to apply for the grant for the greenhouse, but that they decided to wait for the new council.
“It’s really out of respect for the new council,” co-founder Nona Yehia said. “Time is not something we’re worried about. We were making a lot of headway with the old council. I think we’ll make headway with the new council.”
Each made the decision to postpone after talking with town officials.
In each of the deals, the town would own the building and lease it to the developers.
Town Manager Bob McLaurin said the current council could approve the grants but the next council would have had to vote on the leases.
“There was a general consensus that if we act on something now, we’re committing the future council,” McLaurin said.
Both hope to gain approval by the next deadline for the Wyoming Bus-iness Council grant. That deadline is March 1.