New development codes and zoning in Fremont County
Despite the large public outcry, the Fremont County Commissioners forged ahead and unanimously adopted similar development codes as Teton County’s OLD development ordinances. Approximately 70 people attended the June 23rd Fremont County public hearing on these amendments to the code. These amendments included aggressive up-zoning throughout the county and reduced protections for wetlands and waterways. Roughly 30 people offered testimony at the hearing, stating, “We do not want to repeat the past mistakes of our neighbor Teton County.” This was a common theme.
VARD outlined to the Commissioners the weaknesses in Teton County’s old code, and offered a comparison with Fremont County’s proposed new code. Many of Fremont’s ordinance changes are actually significantly weaker than even Teton County’s 2005 regulations. For example, the most rural zoning in Fremont County will allow for a base zoning of 26 lots/100 acres (this incudes all the remote dry farms along Lamont, Drummond, and Bitch Creek).
By comparison, our county only allows for 5 lots/100 acres in these rural areas. Fremont’s new ordinances also have no consideration of true-cost accounting for its development patterns – this was Teton County’s big pitfall, resulting in our present-day growth scheme that does not pay for itself. And finally, Fremont’s new ordinances allow plats to be recorded prior to infrastructure being completed. The pre-recording of plats prior to infrastructure has caused tremendous problems in Teton County with partially-built zombie subdivisions. As the saying goes, “Those who do not understand the mistakes from the past are bound to repeat them.”