Natrona County Business May Leave After Commission’s Decision
The owner of a small trucking company probably will leave the area after the Natrona County Commission turned down his request to park four empty semi-trucks with flatbed trailers on his property on Poison Spider Road.
"We'll probably move out of here, I'm sure," Floyd Sorensen said Tuesday after a hearing.
Sorensen and his M&S Oilfield Services have had a 16-acre lot with a house in the 10000 block of West Poison Spider Road for four years, he said.
"We've got a big huge nice yard. We don't have any junk here or nothing," Sorensen said. "We don't want to be part of this county."
Last year, the county recently brought to his attention that parking the trucks and flatbed trailers was in violation of the Urban Agriculture zoning that covers most of the properties in the area.
So Sorensen applied for a conditional use permit to park his vehicles and trailers. He submitted the application to the county's Planning and Zoning Commission, which had no recommendation about it. On Jan. 3, it went to the Natrona County Commission, which sent it back to the Planning and Zoning Commission for its development department to do further research.
On Jan. 25, the Planning and Zoning Commission agreed a conditional use permit is incompatible with the existing zoning, and the trucks would be "detrimental to the health, safety and welfare" of the area.
On Tuesday, development department director Joe Gutierrez told the commission Urban Agriculture includes uses such as an animal clinic, bed and breakfast, and recreational activities associated with agriculture. People can obtain conditional use permits for auto reduction, recycling and wrecking; houses of worship; and cemeteries.
A trucking business is not among them, even though Sorensen said he would not be parking trucks with equipment, nor loading or off-loading cargo.
The development department also received comments from neighbors who said Sorensen's business. Some said the vibrations and noise from the trucks at 3 a.m. wake them up. Others cited the poor condition and narrow pavement of Poison Spider Road in that area.
Most commissioners agreed with the development department's conclusions.
But commissioner Matt Keating said a trucking business is not incompatible with some of the other conditional uses. He also said larger and heavier trucks travel on Poison Spider including water haul trucks.
Keating also cited the commissioners' recent discussions about the loss of tax revenue and it's effect on the county's budget. Prohibiting what he considers a legitimate business will further hurt county revenues, he said.
"If this is how we treat businesses, we deserve every damned dime we don't get," Keating said.
Sorensen agreed, saying he and his family will move, and Natrona County can live with the consequences. "When they struggle they can struggle. It doesn't matter to us."