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Mountain Legends Extension Request; Spring Hollow Building Envelopes

Decision on Mountain Legends PUD extension to wait until November

Mountain Legends is a 99-lot PUD set on 197 acres in between Stateline Road and 150 East, just north of the Teewinot subdivision.  The commissioners have been wrestling with a request from the developer to provide additional time to complete the project.  Earlier this year the commissioners spent a good deal of time and energy crafting a policy on development agreement extensions.  VARD strongly supports the policy that the commissioners adopted, which includes an absolute limitation on any extension to 12 months.  

The primary issue surrounding the Mountain Legends extension request is that it asks for nearly 3.5 additional years to complete the work.  Under the current development agreement, the project must be completed in the next 1.5 years.  If the requested extension were granted, the project would not have to be finished until 2014.  While the extension request in question was submitted prior to the adoption of the county policy, VARD believes that the principles that drove the commissioners to limit extensions to 12 months lead to fair public policy.  

The Mountain Legends request highlights the importance of establishing a clear policy regarding development agreement extensions.  For those who don’t recall the history of the project, Mountain Legends received final approval back in 2007.  That approval was obtained under the 2005 version of the PUD ordinance, which allowed much higher densities than would be permitted today.  The PUD ordinance has changed as we have learned more about the true cost of high densities to wildlife, rural character, and the local real estate market.  The current ordinances better serve the interests of the community.  Predictable treatment for developers is also vital to a healthy business climate.  Therefore, by enforcing the extension policy as adopted, the commissioners better serve the public interest.  

The commissioners are scheduled to take up the question of Mountain Legends again at their work meeting on November 9th.  The commissioners had not received the proposed amended development agreement from the developer until the time of this week’s work meeting and wisely chose to take the time to review the proposed agreement before taking a final vote.  The developer offered to negotiate key terms at the work meeting, however, the commissioners wanted to review the entire proposed agreement in writing before reaching a decision.  VARD applauds the effort to make a reasoned, thought-out decision rather than shooting from the hip.  

Spring Hollow:  27 potential “Homes on the Hill” to be avoided

In response to the complaint filed by VARD regarding the “house on the hill” near Tetonia and the subsequent public outcry demanding that the commissioners do something, the county planning staff presented a plan to relocate the building envelopes for 27 vacant lots in the Spring Hollow subdivision.  Using an interactive display generated by the county GIS department, planning administrator Patrick Vaile demonstrated that over half of the 50 lots in the subdivision include building envelopes that would homes to skyline.  In most cases, simply moving the building envelopes will be enough to avoid further impairment of the skyline.  For 9 lots, a building height restriction of 24 feet in addition to relocating the building envelope will be necessary.  Mr. Vaile is currently working to finalize the new building envelope placements to help undo a mistake that would have had serious impacts to the entire community.  

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