CODY - A closed meeting conducted Wednesday concerning building a large monastery for the New Mount Carmel of America order on a private road outside of Meeteetse was productive, according to the attorneys on both sides.
Objections have come from several landowners who live along Meeteetse Creek Road, Traffic is their main concern, their attorney Debra Wendtland said.
Because of previous trespassing, the ranchers are worried about the potential of increased traffic.
Wendtland told the Wyoming Business Report that Wednesday's gathering was a "good meeting ... with a real effort to get everybody on board" and that both sides were motivated to reach a solution.
"It's not about religion; it's about traffic," she stressed.
The objectors worry that with public daily Masses celebrated at the monastery six days a week, traffic could be heavy. Also of concern is the monks' coffee business, which brings in loads of coffee beans for roasting and then orders that go out.
Michael LaBazzo, attorney for the monks, said they have worked to address the landowners' concerns and have come up with some solutions.
To keep traffic at a minimum, LaBazzo said the monastery is building a warehouse-size coffee barn, which will require only one delivery per month. And orders going out would be picked up only once a week.
The possibility of starting a shuttle bus to the monastery for the Masses is being discussed. However, LaBazzo said the liability and logistics bring up many questions, including where to start the bus from and where would passengers park their cars, among others.
In addition to their coffee, the monks offer some gift ideas, such as mugs, a CD, shirts and more. LaBazzo said the hope is to open a retail space in Meeteetse, if one is available, to sell these items and also have the coffee available too. That would provide employment and also a rental or sale of the site used.
"These men want to be good neighbors," LaBazzo said. "They are good stewards of the land."
According to Wendtland, "We're really close to an agreement; we just need to hammer out all the details. In short order, it is not our goal to hold them up."
At the upcoming Park County Planning & Zoning Commission meeting on Tuesday, Wendtland said most of the remaining people who will comment are in favor of building the monastery.
LaBazzo said he would be contacting Wendtland today to see how her clients will respond at the hearing. "I hope they will be positive and maintain a neutral position."
After the commission's decision, the monks' legal team will have to try to get a special meeting before the Park County Commissioners before the Oct. 1 deadline for the purchase and sell agreement, LaBazzo said.
For more Daily news click here and look under 'Breaking News'