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P&Z response to BOCC directives; Warm Creek Manor; Heritage Peaks; Chilly Waters; Cache Townsite

The Sept. 11th county P&Z meeting contained 4 preliminary subdivision plat applications, all of which were approved. One subdivision plat amendment was continued.  The design review for Jackson Hole Log Homes was also approved.

P&Z response to BOCC directives
On August 27, 2007 the Board of County Commissioners, during their deliberation and decision on whether to repeal the Planned Unit Development (PUD) ordinance, unanimously sent a strong and explicit directive to the P&Z to conduct more thorough and comprehensive subdivision application reviews. Some of those directives included language that new developments need to reflect the goals in the Comprehensive Plan including but not limited to: protecting the scenic corridor, concentrating higher densities near the cities, guiding open space to protect natural, scenic and other significant features; conserving and protecting important habitat. Additionally, they required the P&Z to ask for more explicit studies including information on areas of critical concern and cost of public services. The directive concluded by making it clear that the BOCC would not be “rubber stamping” P&Z’s recommendations for approval.

In sum, the Sept. 11th P&Z meeting reflected a clear indication that the P&Z is not willing to follow the BOCC’s directives. VARD’s comments on the applications considered were based on the directives by the BOCC. VARD requested a fiscal impact analysis be done on any development over 10 lots. The P&Z did not ask for one fiscal impact analysis. No natural resource inventories were requested for developments that contained wildlife habitat, no traffic studies were requested and, the P&Z, with the input from the county planning administrator and county attorney, interpreted the Groundwater Protection Ordinance in a way that seems clearly contrary to the intent of the ordinance.  VARD was involved in the hearing that resulted in the approval of the ordinance in November of last year and the intent at that time was to phrase the ordinance in such a way that a Nutrient Pathogen study would be required for a development that had groundwater within ten feet of the surface.  The P&Z chose to interpret the ordinance to only apply in the wetland overlay. 

Accomplishing a better plan to manage growth for Teton County will not be an easy task if this meeting is an indication of the posture of the P&Z commission. The majority clearly does not feel it is their duty to place the burden of proof on the developer to ensure that new developments pay for themselves and are an asset, not a burden, to the community. Unfortunately, under this modus operandi and considering the BOCC’s directives, their actions clearly will not benefit the developer.  When it comes time for the BOCC to implement their own directives it is clear that they may be forced to remand applications back to the P&Z for a more thorough review, prolonging the application process for the developer and the public.

Warm Creek Manor Preliminary Plat

18 lots on 68.04 acres located at approximately 800 South and 175 West in Victor.

VARD expressed following concerns be addressed:

1) Adequately show how the residential uses can be compatible with adjacent farming practices.

2) Conduct a Natural Resource Inventory particularly for the south edge of the property to identify wildlife habitat and corridors.

3) Address the fencing issues as noted from the P&Z minutes on concept approval.

4) Address water rights and the transference of irrigation water as a change of use.

5) Clearly identify building envelopes as indicated by the P&Z during concept.

6) Because surface water is present on the eastern portion of the property (Pole Creek) it may merit test wells be dug to assess if a NP study is required.

7) An open space management plan should be required

8) A fiscal impact analysis should be required.

9) If, as mentioned in the CCRs, 3 horses are allowed per lot, identify the impacts and management of having a total of 57 horses in the development.

P&Z recommended approval of the development with conditions on fencing, joint road maintenance agreements, and maintenance of the park by the homeowners association. The development was passed with one dissenting vote.

Heritage Peaks was pulled due to incomplete application.

Chilly Waters Preliminary Plat

13 lots on 32 acres in the vicinity of 400 North and 100 East.

VARD expressed following concerns be addressed:

1) A Nutrient Pathogen study should be required to address cumulative water quality concerns based on the surface water and flood plain located on the property.

2) A fiscal impact analysis should be conducted to address long term costs vs. revenues the development will incur.

3) The applicant has not received even preliminary approval and infrastructure work has begun with the creation of roads. This is contrary to county code and VARD would encourage the commission to impose a penalty for early construction prior to approval.

4) Address if there are change of use issues for water.

5) Plat needs to show existing neighboring developments.

6) 60” fencing is high, especially if wildlife corridors are contained on the property. Perimeter fencing should not be allowed.

7) Night sky provisions should be enacted and included in the Development Agreement and CCRs.


In addition to VARD’s comments, adjacent land owners spoke with considerable concerns that this property is already part of an existing subdivision and cannot be further divided. The applicant’s attorney admitted that the record for the property was “a mess”. County Planning Administrator Hibbert was adamant that it was not, according to county records, a recorded subdivision based on the official county subdivision map and tax assessments. However, the adjacent property owners made the case that an exhaustive examination of the record should be conducted and submitted that they have documentation to show the property was part of an existing subdivision based on records from American Title.


Regardless, the P&Z recommended approval of the subdivision with the condition that water rights be addressed, road access on 400 N to be addressed, the flood plain be noted on the final plat, lighting comply with the lighting ordinance, dimensions of lot lines be included, the CCRs include language on wildlife fencing and that an open space management plan be included. Commissioner Steele voted against the recommendation based on the need to clarify whether the property was part of a subdivision and Commissioner Heileson abstained.

The P&Z directed staff to inspect the property for infrastructure improvements being conducted prior to approval. The applicant admitted to construction and stated that the excavators were available and he wanted to take advantage of the opportunity considering the short building season.

Cache Townsite Preliminary Plat

28 lots on 38.31 acres at Packsaddle Road and 300 West.  This subdivision includes a town-like, dense grid-pattern of development.

VARD expressed following concerns be addressed:

1) The design and approval of the PUD is contrary to the Comprehensive Plan in regard to densities being located close to the municipalities and the services needed by the approximately 90 new residents.

2) A Nutrient Pathogen study should be required because 3 test holes showed water less than 10 feet from the surface.

3) A Fiscal Impact Analysis should be conducted.

3) Given the density, a traffic study should be required to examine traffic loads to Packsaddle and 300 W.

4) Address issues pertaining a change of water use.

5) Open space management plan should be required to address when/if large lot will no longer  be farmed as well as address management of the small, 1.9 acre, piece.

6) If the intent of the project was for “affordable” housing, the developer should be encouraged to land-bank lots for the county. Without this assurance, affordable homes are nearly impossible to build and maintain as affordable.

Adjacent property owners presented concerns about the development being contrary to the rural character of the neighborhood, ground water quality, public services and traffic.

The P&Z recommended approval of the subdivision with conditions on landscaping, an open space management plan for the large parcel and the approximately 2 acre park, well and irrigation easements needing to be identified and readjustment of wells and septics if need be. The recommendation motion passed with two dissenting votes.


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