Mountain Legends concept approved, now developer must complete multiple studies for preliminary plat approval
Mountain Legends property
…….soon become this?
Concept design for Mountain Legends 76 lot subdivision
At their July 12th public hearing last month, the Teton County Planning & Zoning Commission recommended approval of the concept proposal for a 76 lot subdivision by Jackson based-developer Harry Statter, located at 5000N and Stateline Road. All lots are proposed to be on an individual well and septic system.
It was a packed house at the hearing. Approximately 16 members of the public gave testimony – all in opposition to the development.
It was a packed house at the July 12th hearing.
Prior to this hearing, 29 public comment letters were submitted by neighboring property owners, nonprofits, and agencies. All expressed concern with this development proposal. In their letter, Idaho Fish & Game note the negative impacts Mountain Legends would have in this critical habitat area, along Dry Creek and the surrounding benches. Friends of the Teton River’s letter provides groundwater data, showing high nitrate concentrations in nearby wells, which could be exacerbated by these 76 new wells and septics. Almost every neighboring property owner wrote a letter in opposition and included pictures of raptors, songbirds, and elk herds that frequent the property.
Valley Advocates’ position on Mountain Legends:
In our comment letter submitted last month, we argued that the project does not meet the county’s criteria for approval. Prior to the hearing, our staff also created visuals of what this development would look like at full build out.
Viewed from Grand Teton Road.
Viewed from Stateline Road. Note proximity to Dry Creek.
These visuals really hi-light how the unusual “flag lot” configuration of this proposed development will fragment the landscape with driveways.
Mountain Legends’ controversial history:
Mountain Legends is the first “vacated” subdivision to come back to life here in Teton County. It was first platted in 2007 with 114 lots on these same 197 acres. Even back then, it was a controversial development proposal, with at least 1 remand ordered from the Board of County Commissioners and huge public opposition at all of the hearings held on this project. This project was platted in Agriculture 2.5-acre zoning, but using Teton County’s Planned Unit Development ordinance, Mr. Statter was granted a 65% housing density bonus.
In 2009, the commissioners granted a one-time only 12 and 18 month phasing extension that gave Mr. Statter until April 4, 2012 to install the infrastructure for this development. No lots were ever sold, and no infrastructure was ever installed. The County Commissioners then voted unanimously to vacate this plat on September 13, 2012.
The developer is now seeking to bring Mountain Legends back again, this time under the county’s subdivision regulations. Because Teton County has not yet adopted a revised Land Use Code – these same out-dated development regulations still remain on the books.
This means that until a new and improved Land Use Code is adopted, many other vacated projects may also spring back to life as the speculative real estate development market picks up again.
What Happens Next:
At the July 12th hearing, all of the Planning & Zoning Commissioners expressed concern with the scale and impact of this 76-lot subdivision proposal. However, on advice from the County Attorney, the Board did not feel that they had the authority to disapprove Mountain Legends at the concept phase. As such, they required the following studies be completed by Mr. Statter prior to Mountain Legends being scheduled for preliminary plat hearing:
#1. A year round wildlife and natural resources inventory and analysis
#2. Traffic impact assessments for both Stateline Road and Grand Teton Road
#3. Nutrient pathogen study, which is a groundwater assessment to determine the suitability of this site for septic and well systems
#4. A public services and fiscal impact analysis of this development
#5. Landscape plan
#6. Open space management plan
#7. Stormwater and infrastructure plan
All of these studies must be completed according to the requirements in county’s zoning code and subdivision code as well as to the satisfaction of the Planning & Zoning Commission in order to potentially obtain approval of the second step in the development entitlement process, known as preliminary plat.
We are actively tracking Mountain Legends and will let you know when these studies are available for public review and comment.
In the mean time, if you have questions or comments, you can email the new Teton County planner Kristin Rader at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All pertinent information regarding the Mountain Legends proposal is being posted here.