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Ranch Hearing canceled; MD Nursery granted amended CUP; Light Industrial CUP granted in scenic corridor; Revised PUD passed unanimously.

Summary of the November 14, 2008 BOCC Hearing

The Ranch hearing canceled.
Commissioner’s Young and Stevenson voted to cancel the final plat hearing for The Ranch PUD because they determined that their previous 12-month extension of this project was invalid. The commissioners had granted an extension this August, two months after the application had expired. Teton County’s extension ordinance clearly states that an application must be approved within two years or the entire application is deemed “null and void.” An extension request may be granted, so long as the request is received prior to the two-year expiration date.

Here, The Ranch’s request was two months too late. After reviewing several legal briefs on this issue, Young and Stevenson determined that they had no legal authority to issue the August extension. If they proceeded ahead despite the illegal extension, they surmised that the legal consequences would exceed the consequences of voiding the extension. Commissioner Trupp voted to hold the hearing.  

MD Nursery issued an amended CUP.
After nine months of hearings and permit reviews, the board unanimously issued an amended CUP to MD Nursery for their garden café, and also clarified the commercial uses that were permitted on site. MD, VARD, and the county all expressed a desire for clarity and consistency in the permitted uses to avoid future surprises. Commissioner Young commented that “MD has proceeded in a manner that is inconsistent with their original deal,” and that “there would have been a whole lot less grief if MD had just come in to us in the first place.”

Commissioners grant a CUP to Steve Roth for light industrial in the rural scenic corridor.
This building material sales business is yet another example of a commercial building being built in our scenic corridor before getting the proper approvals from the county.  The construction of this commercial enterprise has been in the works for a long time, but the owner has just recently applied for a conditional use permit (CUP). Mr. Roth purchased the property two years ago, and applied for a commercial and industrial sewage permit on September 25, 2007. He has maintained that he did not know he needed to get a CUP to run this commercial business in the rural county. At the hearing however, VARD presented the building permit for this project, dated October 9, 2007 where the county building inspector had written on the permit that the applicant needed to get a CUP from the P&Z commission. VARD spoke in opposition because granting this type of CUP creates de facto commercial zoning in the scenic corridor, outside the city centers, and should not be undertaken without a broader plan.  

This CUP had been a tough decision for P&Z last month, and on a split vote, they recommended it for approval with several conditions: landscaping must be installed on the East and West sides of the property, there is a 4 employee limit, no retail may be sold on site, vehicles must be stored inside overnight, equipment must be stored inside, and motion lights are the only permissible kind of outdoor lights. This was also a tough decision for the BOCC, and after much deliberation, they approved this CUP with the P&Z’s conditions, except the requirement that vehicles be stored inside overnight. The conditions are similar to that for a home business, however, the very nature of a home business is an enterprise that can coexist with residential use.  Without the built-in assurance that at least the owner is willing to live side-by-side with the operation, allowing a commercial or industrial operation to locate in a residential area within the scenic corridor is a risky and unnecessary decision.  

We at VARD believe approval of this kind of CUP perpetuates the problem of the “build first, ask later” mentality in the county, and promotes industrial sprawl out in our rural scenic corridor.  
Revised PUD ordinance unanimously passed!
At long last, the board unanimously passed the revised PUD ordinance. We at VARD would like to thank all of the commissioners and community members who contributed so much to this 16-month effort. This is a tremendous accomplishment, and collaborative high-note upon which the terms of Alice Stevenson and Mark Trupp come to an end.

Click here to find a complete copy of the revised PUD ordinance as adopted


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