Tracking: Drafting of the new county Land Use Code
Monday, August 18 – VERY IMPORTANT Code Writing Open House
Please stop by the Teton County Courthouse this Monday, August 18th any time from 9am-9pm to give feedback on the multiple land division options that Teton County is currently proposing for rural areas. These division options will be the backbone of the new rural county Land Use Code, which is supposed to be the implementation of our community’s award-winning Comprehensive Plan.
Why do these land divisions options even matter?
Teton County still has over 7,000 vacant platted lots from the last boom. Through the recent Comprehensive Plan process, the general community voiced a strong desire to address this oversupply of lots and not repeat past mistakes, but to learn from them…However, the proposed land division options have the potential to fast track the creation of hundreds or thousands more lots – with even less government oversight or review than what was allowed during the boom.
(Image above is current aerial view of “Drictor”)
The upside of the current proposal is an increased flexibility for all landowners. The Comp Plan does call for giving farms and ranches flexible land division options. However, it is VARD’s position that what’s been presented are broad loopholes that can fuel land speculation. What is needed, however, are options specially tailored for working lands.
How does this compare to the existing code?
These proposed land division options are designed more loosely than what is called out in the Comp Plan, or even in existing county ordinances. Currently, the county code has a one–time lot split provision and an agricultural land split provision. Now, those two processes are proposed to allow for multiple lots, and an additional short plat process has also been added. So, for example, if you owned 20 acres in 2.5 acre zoning, under the current ordinances you can do a single one-time lot split as long as your land has not been previously split since June 14, 1999. Under these new proposals, you could now create up to 7 new lots with minimal review. These new options are not limited to only agricultural lands either – any land is eligible as long as it has not been previously split since June 14, 1999.
And, as noted in our summer newsletter, the county is also proposing no changes to the underlying zoning densities – not even in problem areas like those noted in our newsletter. It is VARD’s position that revising the current zoning densities is clearly called for in the Comp Plan and must be proactively addressed in the new code.
August 18th is your first opportunity to comment on this critically important issue which will likely steer the future of rural growth in our community. So please stop by, ask questions, and share your thoughts at this open house which is being hosted by Teton County, the City of Victor, and the City of Driggs.
Saturday May 31, 2014: What do you want the future of “Drictor” to be? What do you want the entrances of our towns to look like? Please come share your thoughts with the Code Studio code writers as they host a free public code writing workshop from 9AM-NOON on Sat May 31st to discuss land use and zoning in “Drictor” as well as the gateways to our cities.Then, Code Studio will give a final presentation on Tuesday June 3rd at 6:30pm. *These events will be held at the Teton County Courthouse in Driggs*
Tuesday, April 8, 2014: The Teton County Planning & Zoning Commission (P&Z) took public comment on their Draft Community Report which outlines the general approach they would like to take with the new land use code. It also identifies areas of the new code where there is less consensus on the P&Z:
- Wildlife Habitat Overlays
- Large lot splits
- The Scenic Corridor
- Open space
- Whether to create additional commercial and manufacture zoning in the rural county
The discussion amongst the P&Z commissioners has been civil so far, but there are fundamental disagreements on issues such as habitat protection and expanding commercial zoning in the rural county. Nothing is set in stone yet, but it’s very important to continuously advocate for a code that reflects the unanimously adopted Comprehensive Plan.
Documents for Your Review:
- The multiple land division options that Teton County is currently proposing for rural areas.
- Draft zone summaries for the rural areas.
- The P&Z’s ranked action items – these are their top priorities for the new code.
- Teton County’s code work timeline
- Teton County’s outline of the code writing process
- The March 2014 Draft Community Report
- VARD’s March 28, 2014 comment letter regarding the Draft Community Report
- Teton County’s code work website (including comment letters and staff reports)
- Code Studio’s code work website (including the work done to date in Victor and Driggs)
- The HUD Grant website
- The HUD grant budget, which shows the money spent to date on code writing, as well as grant administration.