Valley Advocates for Responsible Development (more commonly know 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.
Historically, Teton Valley’s economy has been based on agriculture, but in the past 10 years it has experienced a dramatic shift to a real estate and recreation economy. The county population increased 142% from 1970 to 2000, and another 25% from 2000 to 2005, making Teton County, ID one of the fastest-growing counties in Idaho, which is one of the fastest-growing states in the nation.
This economic shift and growth have created land-use changes that threaten the biodiversity and ecological integrity of the area and challenge the efforts to sustain the rural character of local communities. A study commissioned by the Doris Duke Foundation and the GreaterYellowstone Coalition ranked Teton Valley number one of 43 “mega-sites” assessed for conservation priorities within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). This assessment was based on the unparalleled ecological resources of Teton Valley and their vulnerability to development.
Ironically, it is the valley’s unique natural resources and quality of life that are driving growth. Teton Valley encompasses approximately 450 square miles in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. It is bordered on three sides by mountains: the Teton Range to the east, the Big Hole Mountains to the west, and the Snake River Range to the south. The valley is rich with wildlife including fragile species such as grizzly bears, bald eagles, and Yellowstone cutthroat trout. The area is renowned for outdoor recreation such as great skiing, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and snowmobiling, to name a few.
In December 2001 Valley Advocates for Responsible Development (VARD) was created in response to 3 proposed developments in wetland areas. Since our initial meetings with only a handful of folks, we have now grown to a group of over 1500 community members. Thanks to our vibrant community and generous donors, we continue to grow and help sustain this unique valley.2001
VARD's Inaugural Newsletter
VARD publishes its inaugural newsletter, “Valley News”. Read it here.2003
Fox Springs/Fox Meadows
VARD challenged both of these projects for a second time after the county re-approved them in April 2004... Read more about this case here, and the subsequent press release.2006
Prop 2 Defeated
Proposition allowing for outside developers to dodge local planning laws, costing ID taxpayers millions, paid for by out of state interest groups...DEFEATED! Read MoreNovember 28, 2006
Wlidlife Habitat Overlay Adopted
P&Z worked hard to craft thoughtful changes to the Wildlife Overlay regulations so they will be easier to interpret and offer more meaningful protection of valuable habitat. This overlay was adopted in 2008 and amended in 2010. Read More2008
Envision Victor Launched
VARD served as the fiscal sponsor for Envision Victor. Going beyond land use planning to the very social fabric of the community, its core values and unique “sense of place” is a major focus of this project. Read More2009
Lincoln Institute/Sonoran Publication
In 2010, VARD Staff attorney Anna Trentadue published Subdivision in the Intermountain West, which identified tools for addressing obsolete and premature development entitlements throughout the Rocky Mountain West.
In 2012 Trentadue published another article, Addressing Excess Development Entitlements , along with Western Lands and Communities, a joint venture of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and the Sonoran Institute.
Mahogany Ridge Expires
The massive Mahogany Ridge development was a proposed to be located on the west side of the valley on either side of Bates/Cedron Road. VARD and the Teton Valley community fought against the potentially disastrous project for years until its quiet death in June 2010. Read More2010
Teton County, Idaho
"After the Great Recession, Teton Valley found itself with over 9,000 vacant lots that had been platted during the mid-2000's development boom. Through collaboration with other organizations and Teton County, an ordinance was adapted that led to mass reduction of lots. Read More2011
Teton Valley Comprehensive Plan Initiated
Teton Valley 2020, a project sponsored by Teton County, ID to help shape the future of Teton Valley was initiated in August 2012. The plan was unanimously approved by all three county commissioners over two years later.
Teton Creek Corridor Project Launch
After more than two years of hard work collaborating with Teton Valley Trails & Pathways, Friends of the Teton River, and the Teton Regional Land Trust, the Teton Creek Corridor Project was unveiled. In May 2021, the pathway was completed and we look forward to seeing more from this project. Read More2016
In 2018, the Maytag Property was placed on the market. After countless hours of work and the discovery of a zoning error the development possibility was reduced by 336 homes. In 2020 the property was acquired by the National Forest and is now open to the public. Read More2018
Teton County ID & WY
In Spring of 2020, a group of businesses, nonprofits, and local governments in Teton Valley and Jackson Hole came together and applied for a $20 million Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant from the US Department of Transportation (USDOT). Read More2020
300 Main is No Longer
With strong community collaboration, the City of Driggs unanimously voted to vacate the plat on March 2, 2021. Read MoreApril 2021