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80 acre annexation recommended with condition; Shoshoni Plains V preliminary plat tabled

Annexation request recommended with condition
This annexation request was for 80 acres north of Johnson Ave and east of 5th Street. This property is adjacent to the county extension office and road and bridge building and extends back across the Teton Creek corridor. It is currently surrounded on three sides by land already annexed into the city.  

The prospective developer, Gabe Rogel, and his designer, Jennifer Zung of Harmony Design, showed the commission a plat for the planned unit development (PUD) planned for the property. The PUD, Red Barn, is based on traditional neighborhood design with city density in a grid layout on the portion of the property along 5th Street.  Under this plan the Teton Creek corridor and sensitive land are left largely undeveloped.

Paul Gilroy who raises livestock to the south of the property said that the annexation made sense and that the proposed development would not impact his operation unless there were dogs allowed in the development. He said dogs would also negatively impact wildlife in the corridor and urged that no dogs be allowed on the premises of the development.   Other comments by neighbors were generally positive. One person currently renting a house on the property in question reminded the P&Z that as more and more land is developed, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find “a place for a working man to live.”  

VARD’s Kim Billimoria commented that while the annexation made sense and the plan proposed looked good, what were the safeguards that the city had in place to protect the Teton Creek corridor and other sensitive areas on the property once it came under city jurisdiction if the current developer and his proposal fell through, for whatever reason.  The commission discussed this at some length.  Since the Planned Unit Development ordinance offers more protection for sensitive areas and the floodplain than the regular subdivision ordinance, the commission finally passed an unanimous motion recommending the property for annexation on the condition that it is developed as a PUD.

Preliminary plat for Shoshoni Plains V tabled
The new phase five as proposed by the developer covers 110 acres, a little over half the acreage of the whole Shoshoni Plains development, and represents what was initially slated to be phases 5-10.   The application was tabled so that several outstanding issues could be addressed including corrections to the plat, updating of the public services costs analysis and recording of the updated Shoshoni Plains Phase IV plat.    Other issues discussed over the course of the hearing included:

-The importance of connectivity to adjacent properties.  The developer had eliminated some previously shown points of connectivity due to economics and wanting to create lots in place of the connector roads.  The P&Z commissioners reiterated the importance of connectivity to adjacent land. During public comment Sean Moulton, representing adjacent landowner Blackfoot Farms, requested that connectivity be required to his client’s property.  The development’s managing partner, Clair Rood, said he was “all for connectivity” but expressed frustration at being required to provide a connection to Calico Sky subdivision in an earlier phase of the development which the developer of Calico Sky was not required by the city to reciprocate, leaving a hanging road that the developer stated “looks ridiculous.”  

-Treatment of 100 N.   The staff report emphasized the need for traffic calming measures along this road, which meets the designation of a collector road but at this point does not have adequate street control and traffic calming measures.  VARD raised the importance of an adequate buffer between the parks/pathway area designated along this road and the road itself, which will experience heavy traffic with a lot of young drivers given the proximity to the high school.  

-Mature trees.  The staff report recommended that the developer inventory mature trees and depict them on the plat.  VARD reiterated this as a good idea since such trees are relatively scarce and are such an enhancement to any neighborhood, but particularly such a dense one.  

-Grid design on eastern end of property.   The staff report expressed concern that the development design ignores topography on the east end of the property and recommended loosening up the grid at this point to follow the topography more.  The developer contends that the constraints of the property boundaries and canal running through property made the grid layout the most cost effective way to use space.  

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