Letter to the editor: Public should plan to attend March 7 meeting

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Dear editor,

In recent years the Sublette County Commission has approved, with a vote of 3-to-2, significant building permits to investors purchasing property in previously zoned agricultural areas. These approvals have passed despite not being approved by the Planning and Zoning Board and with a large contingent of residents being against the permit. The meetings have been well attended and respectful, despite being characterized by one member as being raucous and intimidating.  They have been held when many summer residents have been unable to attend the meetings, and those opposed being allowed a minimum amount of time to express their opinions, the majority time being given to those seeking the change.

On Tuesday, March 7, there will be a County Commission Meeting discussing the conditional use permit (CUP) of the Jackson Fork Ranch involving more of the land owned by the ranch.  I urge all to mark the date, time and plan to attend if you are able. Of course, always be respectful but let your opinions be known! And make note of which commissioners vote with their constituents and which do not.

I am including a letter I have written to the members of the commission that I would like published with my letter. It is below.

Very sincerely yours,

D. J. Kominsky
Bondurant, WY

To: Sublette County Commissioners
P. O. Box 250
Pinedale, WY 82941


I write this letter after listening to the County Planning and Zoning meeting on Feb. 15.  The board passed, 3-2, what they believed would mitigate the impact of the Jackson Fork CUP application requested and approved by the previous board of commissioners.  What was decided at that time will forever alter the Hoback Basin and the lives of those of us living there.  The door has been opened.  Other investors will use this ruling to access our beautiful, pristine area, to develop, rape and use the land for profit in the name of recreation.  It will be, I am sure, Mr. Joe Rickett’s dream come true of transforming the Hoback Basin into what will be known as “Little Jackson Hole.”  His dream will be realized, and our nightmare will begin. Those of us who have lived, loved, worked and attempted to preserve this land will be left to deal with the traffic, impact of humanity and infringement on wildlife in what has always been a quiet and pristine area.

Mr. Ricketts indicated, when first he purchased land on the Upper Hoback River, that he intended to keep the ranch agricultural in nature.   He then approached the Bondurant residents to change the name from Bonduant to Jackson Fork, which was soundly rejected by the locals.  He then applied for a CUP application to build a resort on his Upper Hoback property, the reason given “that he needed the ranch to be self-sufficient so he could leave it to his grandkids!” Certainly, we all know that if he wanted to keep the ranch funded for his grandkids and their children all he had to do was to put the ranch in a trust so they would never have to worry about supporting it.  I suppose leaving a working Wyoming ranch as a legacy is not as impressive as leaving an entire recreation complex in your name.

I would pose these questions to the Sublette County commissioners.

  • Why, when outside investors want to purchase large tracts of land, the county does not ask the purpose of the purchase and to suggest that they check the zoning BEFORE the purchase? Why, are they not told they should not expect to buy the land, and then attempt to change or get around the zoning after the purchase?
  • Why, are the opinions of the residents of the area so disregarded? Why, when the letters, calls and attendance at the meeting are 95 percent or better against the proposal, are these opinions ignored?  The room is full of dissenters and yet three members of the board vote in favor of the issue!
  • Why, have previous board members not realized the value of this land as a historical treasure and pursued other ways of illustrating the history and culture of the area?  Examples: lectures on the history of Indians, fur traders, mountain men, explorers, immigrants, homesteaders, ranchers etc. etc.; day excursions showing REAL ranch life; the life of the range riders; a day in the hay field etc.; geological features and the history of mining, drilling, industry from the exploration of fossil fuels.  This area could have been developed into a real historical lesson of our county, our way of life and the tenacity of the people who made it.
  • Why, has the leadership of this county not seen the value of allowing private individuals the ability to have a family business from their home, selling goods that they have either made or grown? This would allow ranchers and others to supplement their income that we realize can be either boom or bust.
  • Why, allow our land to be industrialized by outsiders who are seeking profit by any means? An upscale resort does NOT belong on the Upper Hoback River!!

I urge you to stop what you can at this point, to listen to the residents living in the area, and to not allow any further requests such as this resort to be approved in the future.  Enough damage has been done. Think out of the box and explore other avenues of helping the residents keep their life and families here in Sublette County.

Yours truly,
D. J. Kominsky
Bondurant, WY