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2-lot subdivision vacation; 48-unit apartment complex at 350 North; Mahogany Ridge PUD

During this meeting the Planning & Zoning Commission recommended vacation of a 2-unit subdivision and held informal reviews of Mahogany Ridge, a 1,381-unit resort on the west side of the valley along Cedron Road, and of a 48-unit apartment complex along Highway 33 at 350 North.

Subdivision Vacation at 528 South and 50 West

The vacation application for this 2-unit subdivision raised interesting issues regarding minimum size requirements for subdivisions and PUDs. The earlier subdivision was comprised of 2 lots: 2.5 acres and 16.6 acres. The owner of the 16.6 acres applied to vacate the subdivision against the objection of the 2.5 acres owner. The lots are located in an Ag 2.5 zoning district. By vacating the earlier subdivision, the owner may now proceed to apply for a PUD. With a central sewer and water system, the developer could build up to 10 lots on the property, whereas the underlying zoning would only allow 6 units.

P&Z discussed how this process is akin to getting two bites at the apple: there was the original one-time lot split to create the subdivision, and then the later PUD development to get higher density housing.  There are some outstanding legal issues with this vacation request – for example LLUPA and county ordinances require a two thirds majority to vacate a subdivision but in this case there are only two parties.   The P&Z recommended approval of the vacation while making it very clear that they could not rule on the outstanding legal issues.  

Informal review of the 48-unit Apartment Complex at 350 North

This proposal follows in the wake of a previously failed zone change request for commercial zoning for this same property. Located in Ag 2.5 zoning, the developer would need a CUP to build his proposed 48 unit apartment complex on a 5-acre lot. The P&Z commission stated that they did not feel the location was right for this dense, multi-family development. Located outside of the Driggs impact area, (1.5 miles North on Highway 33 by Kauffman Lumber) this kind of project would be more appropriate within the city limits of Driggs.

Informal review of Mahogany Ridge PUD
This 3,507 acre PUD will be located along the Big Hole Mountains from just south of Bates Road, down to roughly 450 South. The current proposal shows 1,381 lots with a 40 unit per 100-acre density. In the previous month’s review of this project, the P&Z requested that the developer Travis Thompson provide open space calculations which did not include the private lots for the development. Currently the  open space numbers provided include all the land within the private lots, excluding the building envelopes.  The revised open space numbers were not provided to P&Z, and no other substantive changes were made to Mahogany Ridge in the wake of the previous P&Z comments. Just as in the last review, the P&Z expressed concern with the high density of this development, it’s financial impacts to the valley, and the numerous incidental uses which will turn this corner of the valley into a commercial area. Also troubling was the apparent conflict between the developer’s goal of wildlife habitat “development” and the high housing densities. P&Z also requested that several studies including a traffic study, and a fiscal  impact analysis be completed for this development.  This was not a public hearing so no public comment was taken.  We will keep you posted for when this development reaches the Preliminary Stage, at which point the P&Z will hold a public hearing.

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