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Board of County Commissioners propose public open mic sessions and deliberate County snow plowing

Board of County Commissioners propose public open mic sessions and deliberate County snow plowing

February 11th, 2013 – Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) Meeting

Open Mic:

The meeting began with the BOCC’s first “Morning Mic” session, a 15-30 minute public comment session that will be held at the beginning of each commissioner meeting. Commissioner Park proposed the “morning mic” sessions as a way to eliminate divisions in the community. There would be no name calling; the board would listen and take notes, and put items on future agendas, as needed.

The morning mic began with Commissioner Kunz bringing up VARD’s recent grant proposal to the national Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant for a community greenbelt and stream restoration along Teton Creek.  He stated that he was withdrawing his support of the project after talking to some of the landowners who own property along the creek who are against a potential greenbelt. The intention of the grant project is to fund planning and design of a greenbelt, plan meetings with stakeholders (e.g., landowners, nonprofits, and government officials), produce maps and scenarios, and conduct property appraisals to ensure landowners are fairly compensated if they participate in the project. VARD told the BOCC that the grant had already been submitted, which included the letter-of-support from the County, which was approved on January 28th.

Road & Bridge Update:

County Snow Plowing: Is it fair? Will there be grandfathering of some routes?

Later in the Road and Bridge department update, county snowplowing of W13500N (Brown’s Canyon Road) was discussed. On December 10th, snowplowing of W13500N was discontinued along a ¼ mile segment due to lack of county right-of-way and liability concerns. The plowing segment had been on the ITD Pay Map, but hadn’t been included in the Teton County Roads and Rights of Way Map that was adopted in 2006. Teton County’s Engineer had not found any reference to the plowing agreement, road exchange, road vacation or road adoption in any previous BOCC meeting minutes.

After the December 10th decision, the ¼ mile road segment was removed from the ITD Map. It was brought up that two private residences and grain and potato storage facilities are located along the road. Landowners were concerned that plowing had ceased after 35 years of county plowing. It was explained that this road segment had been on the plowing map, but NOT on the County’s the right-of-way map.

Also, a problem arose last year when a snowplow hit a car parked on the side of the road and that the county’s insurance would not cover the damage since the car was parked on private property and not on a county right-of-way. As such, at that time, the County decided to remove the road from the plow map.

Commissioner Kunz said that the County must support farmers, which is consistent with the County’s Comp Plan since it prioritizes agriculture. Interestingly, Kunz has publically written and spoken against the Comp Plan. He said that the BOCC works for the people and that the road should continue to be plowed since it has been plowed for 35 years and is only a ¼ of a mile, which would take only 5-10 minutes.

Grandfathering of previously plowed roads was also discussed, but Prosecutor Spitzer noted that if future usage of the road changed, then plowing could be stopped. Commissioner Rinaldi stated that snowplowing protocol must be consistent and fair, and that there are other roads in the County that are more heavily used, but not plowed. A formal application and hearing must be made before any plowing to incur. Prosecutor Spitzer said the road was used a private driveway and not a public road. The county would not claim a prescriptive easement to the road because there needs to be a public use for it. She recommended that the landowners file a formal application to the county’s right-of-way map. However, before this was done a formal policy about adding roads to the right of way map would need to be adopted.

Town Hall Meetings:

Later in the meeting, the board agreed to hold “Town Hall Meetings.” These public meetings would be similar to the concept of the “Morning Mic” sessions and would be held three times throughout the year in the evening from 7-8:30pm so that community members who cannot make it to the regularly scheduled daytime meetings could have an opportunity to meet their County Commissioners and give feedback.

Three meetings were scheduled for the rest of the year: Mondays, March 25th, June 24th, and September 23rd (the March 25th meeting has since been rescheduled for Monday, April 8th due to many local school’s spring breaks).

The meetings would not have any agendas, audio recordings, or formal minutes. No staff members would be expected to attend. The BOCC would listen and would not make any decisions at that time, but could place items needing further discussion on future BOCC meeting agendas.

The meetings will be held in the Commissioner Chambers on the 1st Floor of the Teton County Courthouse in Driggs from 7-8:30pm.

 

Coming Soon! February 25th and March 11th Meeting Reports:

Stay tuned for VARD’s meeting reports of the February 25th and March 11th Commissioner Hearings next week. In those updates, learn about the Teton County Law Enforcement Center deliberations (the Center was ultimately approved) and the recent public firing of the County’s Planner, Curt Moore.

Read Teton County’s Minutes of the Board of County Commissioner Meetings online on the Teton County's Website.

Please note: At the time of this report, the March 11th BOCC Meeting Minutes had not been posted online.

 

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