September 1, 2022
September 1, 2022
Commissioners Scott Blain and Bill Bullock; and Administrative Officer Angela Newell were present.
8:30 Pledge of Allegiance.
9:00 Public Health Director Erin Cross met for her monthly update. (report attached). The COVID Health Equity Grant may have an additional $5,000 available for chronic illness management; Cross would like to apply for the additional funding (deliverables are already being met); Commissioners approved the application.
Blain moved to accept Commissioners Proceedings for August 4, 2022; Bullock seconded; motion carried.
Bullock and Blain discussed the 16th road crew member position that is currently temporary. It is perceived that the position not rotating between all three shops equally and they are concerned about the long-term impacts for crew morale.
9:30 Red Lodge Mayor Kristen Cogswell met for her regularly scheduled meeting. Discussed an abandoned camper that has been on a public roadway in excess of 5 days. Discussion about authority to remove the vehicle and use of County Junk Vehicle lot for storage. Commissioners deferred to Miller as his shop operates that program.
Commissioners approved Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) Coordinator Cyrina Allen’s request for a temporary schedule change.
10:00 County Attorney Alex Nixon and Deputy County Attorney Robert Spoja met for their regular meeting. Discussion regarding elections records request delivered by Lisa Bennett. Nixon noted the letter did not identify a cause of action or a client in reference to the information request. Nixon noted the hourly rate for staff and the standard per page copy rate can be applied to records requests. Discussion regarding permitting for bridge repair work at Fox Bridge; Bullock is working through emergency notifications with Interstate Engineering. Discussed appeals process for Development Permits.
10:40 Sanitarian Barbara Krizek and Sanitarian Assistant Lori Kane met regarding DEQ Subcontracts with Spry Contracting, Contract with Engineering West to help with office backlog and potential training, and a review of Sanitarian fees. Travis West and Megan Spry were in attendance. Krizek recounted frustrations with the DEQ review process and timeline (which is 8-9 months). Statutory requirement is 30 or 60 days, but the Department has been extending the timeline due to staffing. Spry noted her turn around time is closer to 1-2 weeks.
West confirmed that the statutory timelines have been bypassed for his projects for most of the last year. Discussion about passing along review fees to applicants. Spry confirmed that statutorily the County can charge a fee to cover cost of the contracted DEQ services. There was a discussion of what would be an appropriate fee. Krizek is proposing a flat $300 fee; discussion about if the fee should be on a per lot basis. Spry confirmed that if someone didn’t want to pay the additional fee they could continue with the normal DEQ process.
Blain moved to approve contract with Spry Consulting; Bullock seconded; Bullock requested contact information be sent to Commissioners’ email; West asked if there would be office availability in Carbon County, Spry plans to work primarily remotely from her office in Helena; motion carried.
Bullock moved to approve the contract with DEQ; Blain seconded; motion carried.
Bullock moved to approve contract with Engineering West to help with office permit backlog and to help with training a new Sanitarian if need be; Blain seconded; motion carried.
Bullock moved to approve Resolution 2022-20 Adopting the amended Fee Schedule; Blain seconded; motion carried.
Krizek discussed staffing needs. She noted there are four qualified applicants and requested Commissioners consider adding multiple Sanitarians. Newell noted at this time only the one additional sanitarian position is budgeted with the General Fund at 27% reserves (lowered from 29%); Sanitarian transfers to capital were cut in the budget balancing process. Commissioners were not inclined to make cuts elsewhere or further lower reserves to accommodate another staff position in this budget year.
Blain moved to accept monthly reports for August as follows: Clerk and Recorder End of Period Disbursement; District Court Fines and Fees Summary; Treasurer Cash; Bullock seconded; motion carried.
11:00 Treasurer Lori Lynde met with Commissioners regarding cancelling uncalled treasurer’s checks. Bullock moved to adopt resolution 2022-19; Blain seconded; motion carried.
Commissioners approved Lynde’s request to advertise for a Full-Time Clerk as budgeted.
11:30 Contract Planner Forrest Mandeville met with Commissioners regarding the appeal of the Vanderloose Group 2 Development Permit for a Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Facility north of Red Lodge. Deputy County Attorney Robert Spoja, Jeff Hunt, Herb Hunt, Jim Bushnell, Stena Bushnell, Peter Vanderloos, Bill Vanderloos, Darlene Vanderloos, Tara Williamson, Ryan Rummel, Cheryl Lyson, Kirk Dehler, James Clemons, Hannah Rimar, Georganna Dees, Hayley Carlson, Kelly Cederberg, Kenyon Redfoot, Polly Kovash, Steve Banderman, Colter Wiggs, and Jane Ahlquiest were in attendance. Mandeville noted the Agro Organics was submitted August 4, requires notification to Property owners within 100’ and provides for a 30-day comment period. 45-day timeline expires September 15. Mandeville noted can impose conditions to permit as outlined in Zoning Regulations and is administratively reviewed. Mandeville noted the zoning regulations are a “shall issue” permit and reviewed Commissioners’ for consideration of an appeal. Mandeville recommended the public comment period be concluded prior to setting conditions. Mandeville will mail permit decision to landowners within 100’. No attendees were there for composting permit.
Moved to appeal for the Vanderloos Group 2 Permit. Mandeville reviewed the permit that was issued and applicable conditions (attached).
Bullock moved to approve Recommendation by the Planning Director as submitted; Blain seconded; Blain asked about DEQ compliance issues and the need for an amended Certificate of Subdivision Approval (COSA). Bullock asked about proximity to Rock Creek and floodplain. Mandeville confirmed there are existing structures in the floodplain but is unaware of permitting for those structures. Discussion about setbacks for existing buildings; Mandeville noted building predate current regulations and are grandfathered. Mandeville’s permit did include a condition requiring new structures to meet the setback requirements in current regulations. Bullock opened the meeting up to public comment.
James Clemons (owner of Medicine Flower Lodge) noted the two cabins by the river are on skids (not permanent structures – no water, sewer only power). They are in the process of addressing the COSA issues with Engineering West.
Jeff Hunt asked what the parameters of the current application are and if the permit would have to be altered or reviewed for an intensification of use. Mandeville noted additional buildings not on the application’s site plan or a change in use that is significantly different than what is proposed would require a new Development Permit. Mandeville noted patient and staffing levels are not in the scope of Zoning regulations and would fall under State regulations.
Stena Bushnell expressed concerns about operations of facility, possible safety issues with the proximity to residences, Sheriff Office response times, and effects on land values. She urged developers to place the facility within the City limits where there is 24/7 policing.
Hannah Rhymer believes this is an exciting project to the benefit of the community. Believes there is a larger risk to not address substance misuse issues in the community.
Herb Hunt asked if it will be an open or closed campus facility. Believes the facility should be closed. Asked if sanitation system is adequate for the facility. Asked about medical personnel licenses and presence of licensed staff. Would like to see an operational plan to address traffic and security.
Tara Williamson noted she currently oversees five sober living facilities and has only needed to contact emergency personnel four times in the last five years. Williamson stated she has no concerns from neighbors to those facilities. Reviewed State licensing requirements that dictate staffing needs. Williamson noted developers would like to help educate the community.
Cheryl Lyson noted Billings Emergency Rooms are full of people overdosing. Noted it is difficult to get people into treatment in the State and she often has to send patients out of State. Believes the program would be a great benefit to the community.
Kirk Dehler noted he had to leave the State for treatment. The California facility he was in, is helping with the project. Wants to give the life changing experience back to the community.
Peter Vanderloose noted they are modeling the facility as lock down treatment center with an in house chef. They are in the process of securing State licensing.
Bullock interjected regarding the various levels of state authorization/licensing. Noted current County zoning does not specifically contemplate this type of development. Vanderloose noted he is happy to meet with neighbors regarding the facility.
Katie Vanderloose noted they have been in development of the business concept for three years. Originally were looking at property in Kalispell, but it didn’t work out. Current property just went up for sale. Noted the impact that treatment has had on her family. Noted those in these types of programs people have chosen life over death.
Ryan Rummel lives in Wagon Wheel estates and noted he has turned his life around in recovery. Rummel believes the proposed facility poses less safety concerns than the issues at the KOA and Wedding venue across the street. Would rather have people in the neighborhood that are trying to get better rather than the debauchery currently taking place at other commercial facilities. Public comment closed.
Blain asked why the project was subject to the Group 2 Development permit process; Mandeville noted intensification of use with the proposed for new buildings. Blain asked about input from other agencies like the Sheriff’s Office. Blain asked if additional information could be provided in good faith before Commissioners render their decision on the appeal. Mandeville noted regulations require 45 days response so an extension would have to be by mutual agreement. Blain noted personal property rights are important. Vanderloose noted drawing was provided to preclude going back through the Development Process, but there are no immediate plans for construction of the additional buildings. Blain would have liked to see the project have a better introduction to the County and surrounding property owners. Blain asked Mandeville’s opinion on extending deadline.
Bullock asked logistical questions about DEQ sanitary system compliance and expressed concerns about a large facility on a septic system. Also noted concerns about ingress and egress.
Mandeville noted for Carbon County permits the Development Permit comes first before other permits can be obtained.
Mandeville reviewed Development Permit issuance and appeal process as detailed in the regulations. Spoja confirmed it is a shall issue permit, but conditions can dictate compliance with other permits. Blain clarified he is recommending additional time to evaluate proposed development to consider other applicable conditions to ease concerns of neighbors. Bullock moved to withdraw motion, Blain did not object.
Blain moved to postpone the addition of conditions to Vanderloos Group 2 Development permit for for another 45 days; Bullock seconded; Bill Vanderloos noted in opposition to extending timeline believes have followed regulations as set forth by County Zoning. Bullock noted concerns with DEQ violations. Bullock noted history of development issues with conditional approvals. Vanderloos requested the timeline be reduced to 20 days.
Discussion with Mandeville regarding what items can be considered for conditions. Mandeville noted fencing, traffic volumes, and other reviewing agency concerns. Information on how they plan to handle creek frontage and floodplain. Discussion about property purchase contingencies which include Development approval from County. Commissioners will have a list of questions to the Developer by September 8th and set another meeting for September 29th at 10:30. Blain amend motion to have questions to the developer by September 13th and to delay final decision on final permit conditions to September29th at 10:30; Bullock seconded; motion carried.
1:00 Extension Agent Nikki Bailey and Tracy Mosley from MSU Extension met with Commissioner Blain. Bailey has taken a job in Sydney and will be leaving October 7th.
Respectfully submitted: Angela Newell, Administrative Officer