From the pages of
The Sublette County Journal
Volume 5, Number 9 - 10/19/00
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

New Industrial Park for Oilfield Proposed South of Boulder
Eric Fairbank's Development would serve the Jonah and Pinedale Anticline fields
by Rob Shaul

A Boulder man is proposing to develop a new industrial park geared towards oilfield service companies. According to a rezoning application filed with the County Planning & Zoning office, Eric Fairbanks proposes a 160-acre development located 10 miles south of Boulder, along the east side of Highway 191 across from the intersection of the highway and the Piney cu toff (highway 351).

Mr. Fairbank's property is currently zoned A-1 (agricultural). He wants to subdivide his property into 36 individual lots for commercial and industrial use. Four of the lots will be rezoned Highway Commercial (CH-1), three lots to Commercial (C-1), 17 lots to Light Industrial (I-L) and 12 lots to Heavy Industrial (I-H).

The development's lots closest to the highway would be zoned Highway Commercial and General Commercial. The intended use is for offices and other commercial uses. Further back would come 74 acres of Light Industrial. Farthest back would be the 58 acres of land zoned Heavy Industrial.

Mr. Fairbanks' property slopes into a draw the further it is away from Highway 191, and according to the P&Z staff report, this would mean the industrial lots will be lower than the highway, and four acres east of the highway. The lower elevation and distance from the highway means the industrial lots will be partially hidden by the draw and office buildings located on the commercial lots nearer the highway.

In an interview Tuesday, Mr. Fairbanks noted that the County Master Plan recommends a buffer between the highway and industrial property. This is the reason he plans to rezone the lots closest to the highway to Highway Commercial or Commercial. While he hopes these lots will be used for offices or other commercial development, Mr. Fairbanks admits there may not be a market for these lots. "I really don't care if those lots stay vacant," he says, noting that they will serve as the buffer between the highway and the industrial lots.

Mr. Fairbank's proposal is made intriguing by an assumed need for more property zoned industrial in the north end of the county. According to the P&Z staff, there are 8 subdivisions zoned Light Industrial in the county. Seven are located near Big Piney and Marbleton, and one is west of Pinedale at the Industrial Site. Only one other subdivision is zoned Heavy Industrial in the county and it is located near Exxon's Black Canyon facility southwest of Big Piney.

Earlier this month, the BLM denied a County request to purchase an additional 50 acres of property to expand the existing Industrial Site west of Pinedale.

In her staff report, County Planner Joanne Garnett concludes by describing Mr. Fairbank's proposal as both an opportunity and a challenge. She writes, "The opportunity is to obtain needed industrial and commercially zoned land that is in short supply. The challenge is to have it be developed in a way that fits in with the landscape and not be a visual detraction."

Mr. Fairbanks himself owns an oilfield service company, Blackhorse Construction - a roustabout company. In terms of money and timeline, he's still investigating how much developing the subdivision would cost. He noted that the survey alone will cost upwards of $15,000. Everything, including the timeline, hinges on the zoning change being approved, he says. If the County approved the zoning change, Mr. Fairbanks will have to return to the Commissioners for the specific subdivision plans.

Finally, Mr. Fairbanks looks forward to landscaping the buffer zone to his subdivision. He enjoys landscaping as a hobby, and says he might even consider landscaping a roadside park for people passing by on the highway. He says he's also open to setting aside space for an ambulance or EMS station which would serve the oilfield.

The Planning and Zoning Commission will hear Mr. Fairbank's application at their meeting tonight and will make a recommendation to the County Commissioners, who will hear the application in November. Tonights P&Z Commission meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in the courthouse. <

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