From the pages of
The Sublette County Journal
Volume 5, Number 24 - 2/8/01
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Aiport Property Owners Can't Win

I can't see a way residents with property at either end of the Pinedale airport runway are going to avoid having their property values decrease.

Even if the Pinedale Town Council approves an updated Airport Layout Plan without calling for an extension of the existing runway, the plan will still be recorded, and it will show increasing activity at Wenz Field.

No matter what, the Pinedale airport is going to get busier in the years ahead. At a minimum, this means increasing noise at all hours of the day. Plus, even if the Town Council doesn't approve an ALP with a runway extension this year, the next time the ALP is updated, the extension will again be an issue. Chances are, sometime in the future, the runway will be extended. All of this makes those parcels less valuable to potential buyers.

Some have told me they don't feel very sorry for the property owners. After all, the airport isn't invisible. They chose to purchase property near it.

But this approach is too harsh. According to the county planner, the Airport Subdivision was created in 1973. It's been around over 25 years, and during that time, couples and families have invested their income, life's work, and hearts in their homes and property on those lots. Even if the Town gets money from the FAA to buy them out, these residents will still be displaced from their homes. We have to have empathy for them.

That being said, I applaud Lil Penton, the Pinedale Airport Board and Mayor Skinner and the Pinedale Town Council for being forthright, honest and direct with the public and property owners. It would have been easy for Lil and Rose Skinner to sneak the plan by everybody, and avoid the heat they are taking from the property owners and others. Instead, they've done the right thing, the stand up thing.

My Appologies

I owe Mike Schmid and all the employees at Schmid Oilfield Service an apology. In January, the County Commissioners threw out a SOS bid to dig a new cell at the Marbleton Landfill based on a recommendation from Road & Bridge Supervisor Mike McGinnis. Mr. McGinnis said that SOS was awarded a similar job in 1999, but failed to do the work. In my story covering that meeting, I printed what Mr. McGinnis had recommended, and that the Commissioners had thrown out the SOS bid. What I didn't do is call Mike for his side of the story. As a result, Mr. Schmid and SOS took a hit to their reputation which wasn't deserved. I've learned a lesson here, and will work to not make the same mistake again. I'm sorry, Mike.

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