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Teton Valley 2020 is a project sponsored by Teton County, ID to help shape the future of Teton valley. 

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Can you spare ten minutes?

Ten minutes is all that’s needed to fill out the Community Choices survey for the Teton Valley 2020 Comprehensive Plan.

Why is feedback so important?

This is the phase of the planning process where good ideas are potentially eliminated, and the Comprehensive Plan can get “watered down” so as to be useless.  That’s why the community needs to provide specific feedback about what they like and dislike in each framework. From this feedback, Teton Valley 2020 will be combining all 3 of the frameworks into one vision for the public to review.

Where can I take the survey?

You can take the survey HERE. Feedback is due by 5:00pm this Friday, January 27, 2012.

Can I get papers copies of the Framework Maps? 

We have high resolution maps that you can pick up at the VARD office (located at 285 E. Little Ave. above Yostmark and Forage in Driggs).

What if I don't have time to take the survey? 

If you cannot or choose not to take the survey, at the very least, please email Angie Rutherford (Teton County planner) with your comments. She can be contacted at arutherford@co.teton.id.us

Can you help me understand the survey?

Since many folks have commented that the Community Choices survey is confusing, perhaps this will help. We have gone through every single survey question, and offered an explanation of what it means, and what the pros and cons are with each proposal. You can use these notes to help get through the survey:

** QUESTION #1: Framework 1 Land Use Zones

Foothills Zone – In the area along the Big Hole Mountains, the parcel size would be 2.5 acres with clustering required. Without clustering, the minimum lot size would be 20 acres. While clustering makes great sense, the 2.5 acre entitlements translate to 40 units/100acres, which is simply too dense to provide any meaningful protection of the foothills. In addition, many foothills areas are over 10 miles from public services, making these remote locations inappropriate for such high density housing. 

Rural Zone – Parcel size would be 20 acres and clustering would be required. Without clustering, the minimum lot size would be 60 acres. This zoning make sense for protection of rural landscapes and encouragement of clustered development. A zone like this would also be useful in many other remote areas of the county, such as the foothills of the Big Holes.

Conservation Zone – For this most sensitive zone, land protection and the transfer of development to more appropriate areas would be the primary goals. Allowed density changes to 1 unit/60 acres, with conservation easements being acquired or donated on the remainder of land. Development rights may be transferred to other areas of the community to further reduce the impact of development in sensitive areas. A program requiring sustainable development standards may allow development at a higher density, where appropriate. This type of zoning would do a good job of protecting the most sensitive and remote areas of the county; however, some of the areas proposed for Conservation Zoning, might also be appropriate for the Rural Zone, such as the lands around Tetonia, Teton Creek, and Pine Creek Pass.

Rural Neighborhood ZoneThis is just 2.5 acre zoning, or put another way, 40 units/ 100 acres. If the development is not clustered, the developer would have to pay a fee that would be used for community amenities such as trails, parks and other facilities. This has the potential to work is some areas that already have heavily established residential development such as “Drictor” and Hastings Lane. It is probably inappropriate to encourage the Rural Neighborhood Zone in such high density housing in the more remote and sensitive areas of the county such as north of Tetonia, South Leigh Creek, and Spring Creek.

Separator Zone – The purpose of this zone is to provide a visual separator between the communities of Driggs, Victor and Tetonia. Restrictions would limit the type of development between population centers. The intent of this zone makes sense – it’s good to maintain the natural boundary South of Driggs and South of Tetonia. However, it’s unclear as to what types of development would be allowed in the separator zone. More detail is needed.

Additional Comments – Out of all the zones proposed, the Foothills Zone is truly too high in housing density to do a meaningful job of protecting the foothills of the Big Holes. It also focuses growth in remote locations of the county that are expensive to service.

** QUESTION #2 – Framework 1 Amenities

Trail system along Teton River – This could potentially be controversial with all the easements and sensitive lands along the River.

Perimeter trail around the Valley – A good economic development idea (currently only possible through public lands or with landowner permission).

Valley-wide recreation program – There would be different recreational opportunities and facilities in each community (i.e., A pool in Driggs, climbing wall in Victor, rodeo in Tetonia).

Parks along the Teton River – One way to look at this proposal would be to improve the existing public access areas along the river. (i.e., improve the road to Big Eddy or develop picnic sites at pubic access) 

Bird Watching Center – A good economic development idea (needs to be on public lands or with landowner permission/promotion).

Visitor Center –  A good economic development idea.

Additional Comments – While a trail system along the Teton River may be impractical, trail systems along Teton Creek and Trail Creek could be a huge amenity for Victor and Driggs. Instead of a pathway along the river, perhaps bike access to the river could be established so it is possible to reach the Teton River without a car.

** QUESTION #3 – Framework 2 Land Use Zones

Zones A, B, C, and D – With all 4 of these zones, there would be no changes to the underlying zoning, but instead, sustainable land development guidelines would apply to all construction in sensitive areas. These various guidelines in zones A, B, C, and D, make great sense for protecting habitat, steep hillsides, and sensitive areas. But, without  changes to some of the underlying zoning in the county, these guidelines are likely to be ineffective. Put another way, so long as 40 units / 100 acres is still permitted in remote and sensitive areas such as Badger Creek, North Leigh, South Leigh, the Jackpine Loop, Rammell Mountain Road, etc – these guidelines will not offset the impacts of such high density development.

Industrial Zone– This is a good zone that focuses industrial uses in areas around the Driggs airport.

Additional Comments – Zones A, B, C, and D are not likely to achieve their intended goals without some changes the underlying 2.5-acre zoning in some of the most remote and sensitive areas.

** QUESTION #4 – Framework 2 Amenities

Agricultural heritage farms – An economic development idea to help preserve valley farms.

Museums in towns – A good tourism idea.

Agricultural heritage attractions – An economic development idea to promote and advertise the valley’s farms and develop events and attractions around these farms.  

Expanded scenic corridor – Right now, the corridor is 300 ft. The new distance would be 2.5m on each side of the highway.

Scenic gateway – A scenic gateway would be designated for each of the 3 towns.

Dark sky observatory – A good economic development idea for the north end of the county (would need landowner permission/promotion).  

Solar field – An economic development idea for the lands at the end of the Driggs airport runway.

Additional Comments – Right now, heritage farms are proposed in the Mahogany Creek area and northwest of Tetonia. Should all farms in the valley be eligible to become a heritage farm?

** QUESTION #5 – Framework 3 Land Use Zones

Quality growth neighborhoods – This area includes existing populated areas such as Driggs, Victor and Tetonia, as well as “Drictor” and historic townsites such as Clawson and Felt. There is potential to upzone or transfer development rights to these population centers in order to encourage reduced development in rural areas.

Rural neighborhoods – In rural neighborhoods, existing zoning of 1 unit/2.5acre and 1 unit / 20 acre would be changed to lower density zoning (e.g. 1 unit /60+/‐ acres). More specifics are needed on what these proposed lots sizes would be. Opportunities to transfer development rights to quality growth neighborhoods would be included in this zone.

Rural conservation – In conservation areas, the minimum lot size would increase and development would only be permitted on very large lots. This zone could be used as a sending area to transfer development rights to the Quality Growth Neighborhood Area.

Additional Comments – Some of the Quality Growth Neighborhoods might not be appropriate sending areas for development rights in the near future. Given that there are 8,000 vacant platted lots in the rural county, 1,000 vacant lots in Driggs, and unknown numbers in Victor and Tetonia, it might be decades before areas like Clawson, Felt, and Drictor would serve a meaningful need as density receiving areas. In addition, some of the locations like 2000 South, 3000 South, 4000 South, and 6000 South that are proposed as Rural Neighborhood Zoning would probably be better served with more intermediate zoning. And finally, some of the really remote areas like Canyon Creek and the far north end of the valley that are  proposed for Rural Neighborhoods, would be more appropriate as Rural Conservation Zones.

** QUESTION #6 – Framework 3 Amenities

Rail trail system – A good economic development idea.

Scenic bike route – Another good economic development idea.

Truck by-pass –The proposal is to create a truck bypass along the west side of the valley.

Transit hubs: A necessity for tourism development.

Recreation center in single, central location: This proposal would mean that only 1 town would have a recreation facility.

Complete streets in Victor and Driggs – A good idea.

Research, higher education, and business development facilities – Proposed to be located in or near Driggs.

Additional Comments – The truck bypass is a tough question that is potentially controversial. One issue that comes to mind is the need to plan for agricultural commerce: How can we quickly and easily get our local products shipped out of Teton Valley? This issue is probably one that should get more time and attention in the larger visioning process of the Comprehensive Plan.

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