May 16th – Burns Concrete zoning hearing
If the manufacturing zoning is revoked, the cement tower that is visible out there today will be removed. This may be the closing chapter in a hard-fought land use victory for Teton Valley. The Driggs City Council will hold a hearing at 7:30pm on Wednesday, May 16th to consider the county's request to revoke the zoning.
- CLICK HERE to read a meeting report from the first zoning revocation hearings before the Driggs Planning & Zoning Commission. (April 11, 2012)
The Idaho Supreme Court published a unanimous decision today affirming Teton County’s 2007 denial of a Conditional Use Permit for the Burns Concrete Batch Plant and its associated 75-foot tower, located north in the of Driggs-Reed Memorial Airport (1750 North and Highway 33). The Court’s decision puts an end to half a decade of legal wrangling over the proposed plant and provides a starting point for the parties to begin determining the future of the “temporary” batch plant that has been operating on the site since 2007 (see photo below).
With oral arguments being held in front of the Idaho Supreme Court a mere two weeks ago, the rapid publication of the decision marks a swift end to a long-running battle. Adding a little sugar to the pot for county taxpayers, Teton County was awarded their legal costs in defending the challenge brought by Burns.
The Burns Concrete Plant was originally proposed to be located on a piece of land north of Driggs-Reed Memorial Airport, which is within the City of Driggs’ Area of Impact. In 2007, the City of Driggs recommended approval of the batch plant and a modified plan was sent to the Board of County Commissioners for final approval. Upon discovering that the plans called for a 75-foot tower, (more than double the height that the initial plan had called for), the Board of County Commissioners denied the Conditional Use Permit Application that requested the 75-foot tower.
Burns Concrete, LLC challenged the Board of County Commissioners’ decision in Teton County District Court. After years of proceedings in the District Court where the County prevailed, Burns exhausted their remedies at that level and appealed to the Idaho Supreme Court. Teton County Prosecuting Attorney Kathy Spitzer, who took office in January of 2009, picked up the case from her predecessor and defended the county’s decision in the District Court and throughout the appeal process.
VARD supports and congratulates Teton County’s successful and hard-fought defense of the Board of County Commissioner’s decision to hold the line and enforce the ordinances on the books. Today’s victory not only affirms the Board of County Commissioner’s authority to enforce the rules, but it also serves to protect the long-term scenic value of the county thereby preserving an important economic driver for our community.
So What Does the Future Hold for the “Temporary” Concrete Plant?
The Development Agreement that Teton County entered into with Burns Concrete on August 31, 2007 allowed for the construction and operation of the temporary concrete batch plant pictured above until the permanent plant was built, or 18 months had passed. Over the course of the drawn-out legal proceedings, the temporary plant has remained on the site, awaiting a final decision from the Supreme Court. Now that the Idaho Supreme Court has issued a final ruling, the County has the authority under that Development Agreement to conduct a public hearing to revoke the authority for Burns to continue operating the “temporary” plant and rescind the conditional zone change that allowed the plant in the first place.