Park County commissioners are hiring a private lawyer to defend their recent decision to prohibit a North Fork campground from expanding near a creek. County Attorney Bryan Skoric has a conflict and …
Park County commissioners are hiring a private lawyer to defend their recent decision to prohibit a North Fork campground from expanding near a creek. County Attorney Bryan Skoric has a conflict and is unable to represent the commissioners because he’s a neighbor to the Wheel of Wonderment Motorcycle Campground — and smack in the middle of the dispute.
Following a closed-door executive session last week, commissioners voted to hire Buffalo-based attorney Amanda Roberts to represent them in the case. Roberts will be paid $250 an hour.
In May, commissioners voted 3-1 to deny a floodplain permit requested by campground owner Pete Pleban. Citing concerns about floodwaters, the commission ordered the Wheels of Wonderment to remove infrastructure and portable toilets it had installed alongside Trout Creek and blocked its plans to build rentable tepees and a seasonal security barrier there.
For his part, Pleban contended that he didn’t even need a permit given the small amount of dirt he was moving — and he argued the creek wouldn’t reach the tepees.
Pleban appealed the decision in June, asking a District Court judge to reverse the commissioners and allow him to keep developing the campground.
The county attorney’s office would normally represent the commissioners in such a case, but Skoric has a conflict of interest as the campground’s next-door neighbor. It was actually a complaint from Skoric that brought the floodplain issue to the county’s attention and he urged the board to reject Pleban’s plans. Allowing Pleban to build near the creek would be “trampling on the rights of his neighbors and making a mockery of the floodplain development standards,” Skoric wrote.
Meanwhile, Pleban says he wants to install the removable fence to protect his family and his guests “from erratic gunfire, large dogs and continued off season firework explosions” on Skoric’s property. (Skoric has denied those allegations.)
All that led up to commissioners hiring Roberts, of The Wages Group law firm. Skoric provided the commission with a list of all the attorneys who handle appeals in Wyoming. Commissioners sought recommendations from other attorneys while considering hourly rates, their availability and experience — as well as checking to make sure they didn’t have any conflicts with the parties in the case.
“That’s why [looking] out of Park County was so important,” said Commission Chairman Jake Fulkerson.
Pleban, meanwhile, is representing himself.
“I believe I was warrented a [sic] unjust, biased review by the board of commissioners and believe I am in full compliance of the laws set forth by Park County,” he wrote in his appeal.
No hearings have been scheduled in the case.