By David Martin
Editor 

Blowup over fireworks stand

 


A conditional use permit for a fireworks stand at the former Ted’s Supper Club building on Purple Sage Road is lighting tensions with other operators in the vicinity.

The Sweetwater County Commissioners unanimously approved a one-year permit for Big Thunder, LLC to operate a fireworks stand out of the former restaurant. According to county documents, the stand would be open from May to September from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Documents state the company expects an average of 20 vehicles per day during the season.

Opposition to the permit came from Les Tanner of Green River Marine and the two other fireworks vendors nearby. Tanner, speaking to the commissioners Tuesday, said traffic leading up to the July 4 holiday becomes thick with people lining up to buy fireworks and believes another fireworks vendor will only add to the congestion in the area. Tanner, who operates the Log Inn Supper Club, said the congestion would hurt his business, as well as the sounds of fireworks going off nearby.

A letter from Purple Sage Ventures, LLC claimed the new fireworks stand would impact the other fireworks businesses in the area. The letter claims parking would become a problem as there would not be enough parking for two fireworks stands and cause parking problems for customers of the Purple Sage Ventures stand. Purple Sage Ventures also argues the 20-car average is unrealistic to how many people park and purchase fireworks, especially during the first two weeks of July.

The letter also took issue with the fact Big Thunder, LLC is not a Wyoming-based company.

“It is my understanding this is not even a Wyoming-based company so why send our money out of state,” the letter states. “Let’s keep our money at home is what everyone strives for so I feel we should keep it here.”

A letter from Daniel Silverman, representing Wholesale Fireworks, Inc., also opposed the permit based on claims the business is involved in a trademark infringement lawsuit in Kansas and should not award the permit for ethical reasons.

According to Eric Bingham, land use director for the county, the county attorney’s office suggested the county’s planning and zoning commission disregard the letter from Silverman as it didn’t pertain to the actual issue involving if the business complied with permissible uses on the land. The planning and zoning commission recommended approval of a one-year conditional use permit.

Commissioner Wally Johnson said he understands traffic congestion would be an issue leading up to the July 4 holiday, but doesn’t believe the commissioners should make business preferences in issuing permits. Commissioner John Kolb also agreed.

“These conditional use permits are not ethics permits,” Kolb said.

Bingham said there were issues of people using fireworks nearby in the past, but hasn’t had recent complaints. Bingham said the land use department warned one of the businesses about allowing fireworks use near their stands.

“It was kind of the last straw ... we haven’t had any additional complaints,” he said.

Both the cities, as well as the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service have fireworks bans on their lands, but they are allowed private property within Sweetwater County.

 

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