Star Valley Council Examines Meeting Location Options

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With a limited number of affordable commercial properties in town, the Star Valley Town Council discussed the option of renovating its current space to hold town meetings Tuesday night.

Town Manager Tim Grier said during a work-study session that the town’s current lease ends in 2010. Instead of waiting to renegotiate or scramble to find a new home,

the council should consider all of its options.

Grier laid out that the town could continue its existing lease and holding council meetings at the Star Valley Baptist Church, look for another town hall site, or remodel the garage at the current site for meetings.

“If we don’t have something long term in place, it is a disadvantage because we have to renegotiate a contract” every year, Grier said. “It keeps us from moving forward on other issues.”

He estimated it would cost the town at

least $1 million to buy a building and renovate it to meet their needs. The alternative and cheaper option is to stay in the existing space and rework it to fit their needs.

“If we are not there, where would we be and how much would it cost?” Grier told the council.

Grier and building official Joe Janusz drew up preliminary plans of a possible renovation to the garage, which included an additional bathroom in town hall, a drop ceiling and removing the garage doors.

No price has been set on the renovations, but Grier estimated it could cost $35,000.

The owners of the property, who are not interested in selling, are offering to amortize the remodel costs over time with the rent being no less than $1,300 a month.

Councilor Vern Leis asked about parking, since the site currently has limited parking in the front and rear. Grier said parking could be factored into the lease, but he does not think it should be a problem since few people attend the meetings.

“I can’t see the population growing drastically in 10 or 15 years, so the garage would satisfy a build out for the next 10 to 15 years,” Grier said.

All of the councilors told Grier they thought remodeling the space was a good idea and should be looked into further.

“I think some people are inhibited from coming to meetings because it is in a church,” said councilor Nathalie Stroup.

Grier said he received no formal complaints from any residents regarding the current setting.

At the town’s regular meeting, council approved two ordinances. The first amends the zoning map for Christopher and Karen Benjamin, who requested their property be changed from commercial to residential. The second adds several density districts into the planning and zoning ordinance. Lastly, the town accepted Cronstrom, Osuch & Company’s annual financial audit report, which found no discrepancies.

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