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Mountain Legends final plat approved; The need for more consistent development agreements; Teton Saddleback Vistas conditional use permit approved; Wydaho final plat approved

During this Thursday public hearings meeting the Teton County Board of Commissioners, approved 237.05 acres in two subdivisions, totaling 114 housing units.

Mountain Legends PUD final plat approved with conditions

Mountain Legends is a 197.05 acre PUD located between Grand Teton Road and Stateline Road, which will have 99 housing units and a clubhouse.  The commissioners approved this PUD after several hours of public comment, rebuttal, and debate regarding this development. VARD commented on the following:
•    The development is still too dense,
•    the linear placement of the cabin lots does not constitute clustering as required by the PUD,
•    and there needs to be consistency between the setbacks of the houses from the property line in the East and West parcels; the cabin lots and ranch houses in the East parcel need larger setbacks in order to be consistent with PUD ordinance 9-7-3 (all setbacks must enhance the livability and attractiveness of adjacent land uses.)

The commissioners expressed frustration with this development because while it is permissible under the current PUD ordinance, its density and configuration are not harmonious with the surrounding environments. Thus, Mountain Legends illustrates the weaknesses of the current PUD ordinance. The commissioners approved this development with the following conditions:

1.    No berms can be constructed around the development. Instead screening will be achieved with filter vegetation.  Neighbors spoke about how berms would be out of place in the landscape of the area.
2.    The cabins cannot be rented for time periods of less than one month.
3.    There will be access to the development via Grand Teton Road (150 East), which the developer will improve up to county standards from 250 North to the northwest corner of the western parcel. Although the P&Z had recommended that Grand Teton be used in cases of emergency only, because it is a county road it would be illegal to prohibit its use.   

The need for more consistent development agreements 

VARD also commented on the need for more consistency in the creation of development agreements. A development agreement is the contract between the developer and Teton County. It is like an insurance policy for the county, ensuring that the developer’s project will be properly completed and paid for by the developer. Quite often the developer makes promises or reassurances at the planning and zoning hearing which do not make it into the hearing minutes, or the development agreement. The P&Z commission may rely on promises or statements by the developer, but if they never make it into the contract the county looses the benefit of those promises. The county can enforce county ordinances through the development agreement. However, the county cannot use a development agreement for requirements not supported by the ordinances.

Usually the county drafts the development agreement. In Teton County however, the development agreement is written by the developer. Some hire an attorney to draft the contract, while others do it themselves to save money. The end result is a great variability in the development agreements. Some are quite thorough, and protect Teton County from liability, while others are more vague, exposing the county to great liability in the event of a default by the developer. VARD illustrated this variability by highlighting the substantive differences in the two development agreements on the hearing agenda: Mountain Legends and Wydaho.

The county needs to consistently protect itself through effective contracts. If the county had a thorough contract template that could be used to draft these development agreements, it would ensure a consistent process.

Teton Saddleback Vistas CUP approved

The commissioners approved a conditional use permit for an indoor swimming pool and fitness center to be located within the private development of Teton Saddleback Vista along Highway 33. Because the pool is located in a private development in an area zoned A2.5, it is not required that the pool be open to the public.

Wydaho subdivision final plat approved

This traditional 2.5acre subdivision located along 500 North, includes 40 acres, and will provide 15 housing units. The commissioners approved the final plat, after requiring some procedural changes be made in the development agreement.


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