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Statistics Geeks Rejoice!

Newspaper: Teton Valley News & Valley Citizen

By Anna Trentadue, Program Director

Three years ago, when I began tracking development statistics in our valley, there was no way to know the number of platted subdivisions or their total acreage.  I could not track the % of vacant lots in our community, or how many new homes were constructed annually. About once a year I could purchase a “new” county subdivision map, but it tended to be outdated by the time it was printed. Basic development statistics weren’t available to the public, or to the elected officials charged with reviewing the seemingly endless stream of development proposals being submitted for approval.

Flash-forward 3 years. There is now public online access to the county Geographic Information System Department with maps, assessor’s records, and other data allowing everyone the opportunity to review and track development in our community. The Planning Department now regularly maintains a database of all recorded and pending subdivisions, including the payment of development fees, the % of lots sold, and lots built out. The Clerk’s Office has added a public records search engine to their website allowing anyone to peruse plats, recorded instruments, meeting minutes, and other public documents from any computer. This search engine is the first of its kind in Idaho to allow online access to recorded instruments. Accurate and up-to-date information can now be obtained without putting an additional burden on county staff resources. This saves time and money for everyone while promoting government transparency.

Planning for our future starts with understanding what is already on the ground.  The County’s foresight in establishing these technologies has made responsible, fact-based planning possible and will prove invaluable as our community embarks on the new Comprehensive Plan. Check these tools out for yourself at: www.tetoncountyidaho.gov!

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