Riverton Mayor’s personal benefit of recently passed ordinance questioned

At the September 1st regular meeting of the Riverton City Council, proposed Ordinance 20-006 amending Chapter 16 of the Riverton Municipal Code passed its third and final reading with a vote of 5 to 2. The Ordinance aims to ease financial burdens on developers in rural areas within the City.

In comments following the introduction of the Ordinance in August, Councilmember Tim Hancock, who voted against the Ordinance, questioned whether Riverton’s Mayor Richard Gard stood to benefit directly from the new Ordinance. Mayor Gard voted in favor of the proposed amendment.

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This amendment allows real estate developers wishing to “develop rural areas within the City of Riverton (outskirts of town)” the ability to use rural street cross-sections. In turn, saving the developer money since they would not be on the hook for curbs, gutters, or sidewalks in their development.

These cost-savings could entice developers to build and would likely lead to savings for the buyers as well.

“Creating an equitable path for real estate developers to have an option to create developments with less costly street cross-sections,” Community Development Director Eric Carr explained about the Ordinance during the first reading on August 4th. “I.e. paved or gravel sections with no sidewalks, etc…” The amendment does not change the current requirements for developers to provide utility services to each lot that is subdivided.

A Gard Enterprises owned land parcel off of Monroe and Major was used as an example of how this Ordinance could impact development on the outskirts of Riverton at the introduction of the amendment where Mayor Gard’s personal benefit was called into question by Councilmember Hancock.

Ordinance origin

In the August 4th meeting, Riverton Mayor Richard Gard noted he had asked Carr to look into this change as it has reportedly worked in other states.

The Ordinance was developed with input from the Riverton Planning Commission (RPC) and “provides measurable and quantifiable metrics for when a rural street cross-section could be utilized,” according to the staff report provided by the City of Riverton.

Click here to read the full metrics of Ordinance 20-006.

RPC unanimously approved the Ordinance at their July 30th meeting and recommended the Council also approve the amendment.

Land in question

The Fremont County Map Server was able to confirm that the only two undeveloped land parcels in that area (515 and 1500 on the map below) owned by Gard Enterprises are not in the City of Riverton jurisdiction, but in Fremont County’s.

Property in white is County and everything else is City.

h/t Fremont County Map Server

At this time, the property is not affected by Ordinance 20-006 since it does not cover Fremont County jurisdiction.

You can find the recordings, agendas, and minutes of all Riverton City Council meetings by clicking here.

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