Tumbleweed Express

Vehicles line up for gas at the Tumbleweed Express gas station this past spring. The station is the only nonconforming use within Albany County’s Aquifer Protection Overlay Zone, qualifying for grandfathered status despite an extended closure.

A public hearing to discuss proposed changes to regulations governing the county’s Aquifer Protection Overlay Zone is scheduled for Nov. 2, and proposed changes are available for public inspection and comment.

The Albany County Commission has been drafting its own changes to the regulations for the past few months after receiving a draft from the county Planning and Zoning Commission last spring. The commission still hasn’t resolved whether its own changes must be recertified by Planning and Zoning, which would set the process back another few months.

County zoning regulations guide development within the area of the county that overlies the shallow aquifer that supplies more than half of Laramie’s drinking water.

Among the proposed changes is a minimum lot size for development within the zone that would allow only one dwelling per 35 acres, whereas the current regulations have no minimum lot size requirement.

A site-specific investigation would be required for zoning certificates, subdivision permits, conditional use requests and zoning changes, and all such requests also would require approval by the commission. A site-specific investigation is now required for development.

Proposals for subsurface wastewater disposal would require compliance with all Wyoming Department of Quality standards in addition to county regulations. No expansion would be allowed of pre-existing nonconforming uses.

The commission has been working on and off the past two years to update the regulations, prompted by the re-opening of the Tumbleweed Express gas station in 2019 despite an extended closure. Gas stations are a prohibited use within the special zoning district.

The planning and zoning commission forwarded a draft of the rules to the commission earlier this year, but commissioners didn’t want to accept the draft and instead made their own changes.

County planner David Gertsch suggested the commission consider holding the public hearing in the district courtroom on the third floor of the Albany County Courthouse, a location reserved for meetings that might draw a crowd.

“There is the possibility there may be a lot of people,” he said.

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