Huntsman Springs annexation, park lands swap, and re-plat proposals
(Page updated December 12, 2014)
This is a very complicated land use proposal with many moving parts that are contingent on each other. There will be several hearings in the upcoming months to consider each specific request by Huntsman, including:
- Annexation into Driggs
- First approved May 2014, and then RE-DONE and RE-APPROVED on December 2, 2014.
- Re-platting to place residential lots over park lands and creation of a private greenway space within Huntsman Springs
- Preliminary plat approval May 2014 – Then the application was WITHDRAWN in August 2014.
- The park lands swap
- Hearings originally scheduled for summer 2014 – Then the application was WITHDRAWN in August 2014.
- Adding additional commercial resort uses to the north end of the development
- First approved September 2014, – This is presently being RE-DONE with a hearing set for January 6, 2015.
- A 64-foot height variance for the proposed hotel lobby
- This has been deemed by City staff to be NO LONGER PROCEDURALLY NECESSARY.
VARD’s comment letters submitted during ROUND 1 of this process:
- September 9, 2014 letter in support of the park lands swap in exchange for the Stock Lumber yard.
- September 11, 2014 letter commenting on the resort hotel and shopping plaza.
- September 16, 2014 letter outlining procedural concerns with the September 16, 2014 City Council hearing. (Letter submitted at the hearing)
- October 24, 2014 Request for Reconsideration of the city’s decisions because they were based on procedural errors.
Click here to learn about ROUND 2, the re-do of the approvals process for the Huntsman Resort Hotel.
A little bit of background about ROUND 1:
Huntsman Springs is proposing to re-plat the residential portion of their development inside the city limits known as the “City Walk” Huntsman is also proposing several commercial resort uses in the vicinity of the clubhouse and fitness center at the north end. The proposal involves re-locating the 3 city-owned public parks (totaling 3.35 acres) inside the development to an alternative off-site location.
Huntsman Springs is proposing to swap these parks for 10-acres of land along Bates road, west of the electric transfer station, beyond city limits. (Click on image below) Huntsman Springs owns a total of 108 acres in this immediate area. Because the property falls within the Teton County priority wetlands and Woods Creek Fen overlays, a wetlands delineation is currently being done on the property to determine what parts are developable.
One of the key issues here in negotiating a land exchange of public property, is that Idaho Code §50-1403 requires the city to make a finding that the properties are of equal value. Open questions remain about the value of this property, including whether more land or improvements must be included in the trade in order for the properties to be of equal value, whether the property can be developed, and if so, what type of recreation development would be most beneficial to the city of Driggs.
**Things to consider about the Bates Road location:
- Is this location appropriate for a park?
- Is 10-acres enough land for an equitable trade?
- Should the city require a larger parcel out of the 108 acres owned by Huntsman on this site?
- What about pathways connectivity to this park?
- What kind of park would be appropriate here? A ball park? A nature park with picnic sites? An outdoor event space?
- Should Driggs instead relocate the Huntsman park equipment to existing city parks and then auction off or trade the 3 Huntsman mini-parks for some other piece of land?
**Here are THREE ALTERNATIVES to the Bates Road property:
ALTERNATIVE #1 – The lot west of Stock Lumber. Huntsman currently owns this 2-acre lot in downtown Driggs pictured below. Could this be the site of a city events center?
ALTERNATIVE #2 – The historical courthouse. Huntsman currently owns the historical courthouse in Driggs. Could this be the site for the new Driggs library?
ALTERNATIVE #3 -350 Main St. The downtown property pictured below is not owned by Huntsman, but could be purchased with the profits from selling the 3 Huntsman mini-parks.