County P&Z to Powers Excavating: “Come back with more information.”
After expressing concerns with the compatibility of this construction corporation with the surrounding neighborhood, the Teton County Planning & Zoning Commission (P&Z) asks for more data and studies but warns that permits may not ultimately be approved.
A little bit of background information:
Corner Fox LLC (Powers Excavating Inc., or PEI) represented by Aaron Powers, has requested a Conditional Use Permit for a “Construction / General Contractor” use on two properties (approximately 15 acres) located north of Victor at the corner of 5000 S and Highway 33.
PEI is already operating onsite, however, after several complaints from neighbors, Teton County served PEI with a notice of noncompliance with local zoning regulations in January 2015. PEI has now applied to seek legal status by obtaining a Conditional Use Permit.
View of Powers Excavating Inc. from HWY 33 and 5000S
PEI requests the following uses onsite: topsoil screening, parking trucks and equipment, landscape rock and other gravel products, and using the shop to perform repairs and maintenance on equipment, as well as a small office space. This parcel is zoned Agriculture and Rural Residential 2.5-Acre.
Valley Advocates’ position:
After careful consideration of the issues here, Valley Advocates submitted a comment letter in opposition to this permit because of the high burden on public services (mainly road maintenance), incompatibility with neighboring residential land uses, incompatibility with the scenic corridor, and conflict with the goals of the Teton County Comprehensive Plan which calls for focusing industrial development in the large number of vacant industrial parks that presently exist in and around Driggs and Victor.
What happened at the August 16th hearing:
At the August 16th public hearing before the Teton County Planning & Zoning Commission, two people offered comments in support of this permit application, and another 1 or 2 said they were neutral. Then approximately 7 people offered comments in opposition.
Much of the P&Z’s deliberation revolved around what would happen if the permit were denied, since Mr. Powers adamantly said he had a grandfathered non-conforming use for at least 5 acres of his property, and that he would screen the dirt at the quarry and run trucks up and down 5000 S if the permit were denied. The County Planning Administrator disagreed, stating several times that PEI was out of compliance with the grandfathered use (which is only for the storage of limestone rocks & equipment), and that PEI did not take steps to come into compliance even after receiving multiple out-of-compliance notifications from the county. She said he remained out of compliance and even expanded his uses since then.
Commissioner Bruce Arnold made a motion to continue the hearing, to be scheduled after Mr. Powers provides all of the following information:
#1. Dust & noise control plan
#2. Landscaping & screening plans
#3. A site analysis for all activities on the property
#4. Reduced hours of operation (compared to original application)
#5. Traffic plan
#6. Scenic corridor plans
#7. Height & location of piles of rocks/dirt (which would be part of the site analysis)
#8. Visibility from the road, parking (including surface)
Arnold stipulated that Mr. Powers had to demonstrate via techniques or procedures how the mitigations would occur. The motion passed with Commissioner David Breckenridge dissenting, having expressed several concerns with the proposal. A few commissioners reminded Mr. Powers that there was no guarantee that the P&Z would ultimately approve the CUP even after they received more information. They further emphasized the need to let the public weigh in again concerning the more specific mitigation plans.
What happens next:
You can view the application materials here and the county planning staff’s report and public comment letters here. Because of the large volume of letters received, the Planning staff have also posted additional comment letters here.
We will keep you posted when the next hearing is scheduled, which will happen once Mr. Powers has provided the information requested by P&Z.