VARD memos to Teton County, ID
As we try to keep you up to date on the moratorium and the legal challenge being brought against it, we wanted to make available to you copies of two memos VARD sent to the board of county commissioners in the last few days. The first memo is regarding the county's use of special legal counsel and ways to allow the public to contribute to the costs associated with that. We researched these questions and wrote the memo in response to phone calls we received asking about the legal position that the county is in.
Given county prosecuting attorney Bart Birch's expression of opposition to the moratorium at last Monday's public hearing as well as his statement that he would not feel comfortable defending the moratorium in court, we agree with the county's decision to hire special legal counsel. This is something that the county has chosen to do in the past as well – such as when they hired former county prosecuting attorney Laura Lowery to handle civil cases, after she lost the 2004 election to Bart Birch.
It's critical that the commissioners use the 182 moratorium to address the growth pressures facing the county without being unduly distracted by legal wrangling. Hiring special legal counsel, as well as allowing interested citizens to contribute to the legal defense fees, hopefully smooths the way for them to focus on the pressing land use issues facing the county.
The second memo was submitted in advance of a meeting held by the board of county commissioners this morning concerning a scope of work for the 6 month moratorium. Six lists were submitted to the board. Lists were received from: Kurt Hibbert, Planning Administrator: Sabra Steele, County P&Z; Commissioner Young; Commissioner Stevenson and VARD. Of the six it was noted that all were redundant in identifying the major isssues at hand. VARD encouraged the board to consider hiring professional planning consultants to help facilitate an efficient process for the county to address the numerous tasks at hand.
The board directed staff to compile a comprehensive list of tasks that need to be addressed during the moratorium period and will be divided among the 1) planning staff, 2) planning and zoning commission and 3) board of county commissioners. The board will review a draft of this list on Monday, April 9th, time TBD.