WELCOME

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For 15 years, Valley Advocates for Responsible Development (VARD) has been dedicated to preserving natural resources, protecting rural character, and promoting vibrant communities in Teton Valley.


 

The Problem...

AssignmentEarthVideoPic(homepage)For nearly a decade, Teton County, ID grew at an unprecedented rate as one of the fastest growing counties in Idaho and the entire nation. The rapid growth strained every type of local resource, from water supply to wildlife habitat to government capacity.

Now, with the housing market fall-out, Teton County is faced with a huge over-supply of homes and lots, as well as one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation. The land-use decisions we make now will reverberate far beyond our own lifetimes.

The Solution!

RDP_Logo_RGB_smFounded in 2001, Valley Advocates for Responsible Development (commonly known as VARD) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit citizens' group working towards fair and predictable development that will benefit the entire community and future generations.

Our approach is a collaborative one. We seek to be a resource for local decision makers and developers, as well as to educate and empower citizens to be involved in the local decision making process. Please join us. Your generous tax-deductible contribution will help us to continue our important work at hand to promote a prosperous community, while preserving the qualities that make Teton Valley, ID & WY special.

Our Mission

To shape policy, guide development, and provide outreach to preserve natural resources, protect rural character, and promote vibrant communities in Teton Valley through civic action.

 


 

Help us build a 1) fair, 2) safe, and 3) prosperous Teton Valley!

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Join, renew or give a gift membership to VARD with a tax-deductible donation! Give online or mail us a check payable to: VARD, PO Box 1164, Driggs, ID 83422. Learn about membership here. Thank you!

Update

Victor Council votes to forgo the RFP process and auctions the Beryl St property as originally planned – but with 24% price cut.

Imagine the cool projects that could be developed on this 1.1 acre property in Victor......

Imagine the cool projects that could be developed on this 1.1 acre property in Victor……

Here’s the backstory:

Our organization’s interest in the city-owned Beryl Ave property was piqued by a Dec 14 Teton Valley News story detailing the lingering site planning concerns regarding the sale of the World Cast property in downtown Victor. From our perspective, it appeared that similar issues could arise with the city-owned Beryl Ave property which had just been set for public auction on Feb 23, 2016. We began to research options that would allow Victor to retain some quality control over the Beryl property when it is developed.

In mid-December, we reached out to Councilor Tim Wells and then-Mayor Zach Smith to discuss other options for the Beryl site, and submitted this Jan 11th letter outlining the benefits of utilizing a Request for Proposals (RFP) process.  At Councilor Wells’ request, our Executive Director Shawn Hill attended the council’s January 13th meeting to explain our position. Newly-elected Mayor Jeff Potter then requested a more detailed presentation from Valley Advocates at the January 31st meeting, and we took this opportunity to explain the specifics of an RFP and the recent experience of other Idaho communities that have utilized the RFP process. The Council then scheduled to take it under consideration at their next Feb 10th meeting.

The benefits of the RFP process:

As opposed to just auctioning off the Beryl property to the highest bidder, an RFP process would give the city more oversight and control over what is built on this 1.1 acre parcel, ensuring a well-designed and 100% completed project. The RFP process has been used with great success by other Idaho cities such as Nampa and Ketchum to create vibrant housing and development projects while simultaneously creating private sector jobs as well.

The benefit we found to doing an RFP versus auctioning the property is that you have more controls over what use goes into the land, the timeframe, and assurance that the developer has the financial backing to make the project work.

– Robin Collins,

Assistant Economic Development Director, 

City of Nampa

The RFP process is a means to minimize risk and enable Victor to directly control and maximize the city’s interest in terms of use, configuration, design, and public presence.  With an RFP, Victor can lead by example with a city-sanctioned project that creates excitement and interest in Victor, while also providing critically needed housing units in the city’s core.

What happened at the Feb 10th meeting?

At this meeting, the Victor City Council debated utilizing the RFP process for developing the Beryl property instead of auctioning it off on Feb 23rd. Here’s how the council members weighed in:

Councilor Will Froelich said he saw the benefits of both paths forward, but thought the land auction should continue as already planned. Councilor Molly Absolon asked for the staff’s opinion. City Planner Britney Skelton’s staff report made no specific recommendation as to which path the city should pursue but did note that an RFP would get picked up on national listings, with a wider network of interested developers. Councilor Dustin Green thought the auction would better attract local developers and dollars over the RFP process. Councilor Tim Wells was not in attendance but emailed comments that were read into the record stating that this RFP proposal was untimely and he was “ethically uncomfortable with an organization with an agenda offering to pay for services for the city.” 

Mayor Potter asked if the offer would still stand for VARD to provide assistance with the RFP process if the auction was unsuccessful. In the past Valley Advocates has partnered with Victor on planning grants such as Envision Victor, and in the spirit of past collaboration, Shawn Hill said that the offer will most certainly remain open as Valley Advocates’ goals align with the city’s goal of vibrant downtown development.

POSTSCRIPT: At auction, the land price is lowered 24% ($30,ooo), fetches buyer. 

At the Feb 23rd city land auction, there were two bidders present. Neither bid the opening minimum of $125,000 (with the separate $25,000 surety). City Council then deliberated and lowered the minimum bid twice, by a total of 24%. When Council lowered the opening bid the second time, to $95,000, a bid was received from Luke Shover representing Dugong LLC, which plans to do workforce housing on the property. The result was a $95,000 sale price, plus the $25,000 surety that the winner is able to receive back if a project containing 8 dwelling units is approved and bonded within 18 months from the date of closing.