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Costs of running interim transfer station; Spring Hollow ridgeline building complaint


Board of County Commissioners 3-23-09 Meeting Summary

Lack of fire-water at transfer station costing taxpayers
At Monday’s work meeting, county engineer Lou Simonet discussed his plans to cut about $47,000 from the county solid waste budget by reducing the interim transfer station’s hours and eliminating Monday trash pickup from Voorhees.  He will have to take further steps to reach the goal of a $60,000 budget cut.

VARD inquired about the extra cost to the county of operating out of the interim transfer station instead of the permanent transfer station. Although the permanent transfer station has been finished since last fall, the county cannot use it until neighboring Driggs Centre provides the fire-water hookup that was a condition of their zone change granted almost two years ago. The trouble is, the fire-water provisions were never spelled out in the development agreement, and Driggs Centre maintains that they have until this December to fulfill the agreement.

Simonet stated that he was unsure how much more expensive it is to operate the interim station instead of the permanent station, but Commissioner Young emphasized that the real frustration was not being able to use the “three million-dollar brand-spanking-new transfer station.”

In the meantime, the county has paid Terra Firma $59,000 per month to run the interim transfer station when they could have been in the completed permanent station over 5 months ago. Just last week, the county took over the operation from Terra Firma Organics, in a bid to save money.

Not having the water arrangements spelled out in the Driggs Centre development agreement has proven to be an expensive lesson for the county. It illustrates the importance of thoroughly reviewing all the details of development applications and making sure that the community’s interests are protected in writing with each development agreement.

County considers VARD’s Spring Hollow ridgeline building complaint
On March 12, 2009 VARD submitted a complaint to the county regarding the ridgelining problem created by the location of building envelopes for Spring Hollow Ranch, a 50-lot subdivision located just north of Tetonia. Specifically, the complaint cited the 8,871 square foot spec house that we all have seen sitting on the ridgetop just north of Tetonia. Both prosecutor Spitzer and planning administrator Vaile agreed with complaint’s analysis that “material misrepresentations” had been by the developer’s engineer, assuring the county that the home sites would be perfectly located to not skyline or be visible from the surrounding areas. The county is currently pursuing several options which include levying a fine against the developer and requiring the remaining 49 building envelopes to be relocated to less obstructive locations on each lot.  

Mr. Vaile added that there is the growing issue of subdivisions and PUD’s not being able to complete the obligations in their development agreements. He reported that there are 28 developments that are currently unable to complete their infrastructure and development obligations, and 6 of them are about to run into the 2-year time limit for completing their projects.

Click here to download a pdf of the complaint.


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