What the heck is happening with the County Code?
What the Heck is Going on With Teton County’s New Code?
Dear VARD Members & Friends:
A lot has happened in the Teton County planning office since Commissioners Park and Kunz fired county planner Curt Moore in April and the next month, hired Mr. Stephen Loosli as a contract employee to produce the new county zoning code and development regulations. Many of you have asked, “What the heck is going on with the County Commissioners and the planning office?”
You ask. We answer.
Here is a timeline of meeting reports to fill you in:
(Please note: If these meeting summaries seem chaotic, that’s because the County Commissioner meetings have indeed become disorganized with decisions being made much more informally)
- FRIDAY, April 19th – The County Commissioners met with the consultants from Code Studio, the code writers hired by Teton County’s $313,000 “Sustainable Communities” HUD grant to write an integrated code for Teton County, Victor, and Driggs. However, the consultants emphasized to the County Commissioners: You must get your policies in order first before tackling any new code writing. Click here to read more.
- Monday, April 22nd – The Commissioners differed on whether to fund a Recreation Master Plan. Although the County has received the HUD grant with Code Studio, Kunz and Park formally agreed to pay contract planner Stephen Loosli $50 an hour to produce Teton County’s new code instead; he still has no scope of work. The Commissioners also discussed “Agenda 21” conspiracy theories, Teton County’s wildlife protection ordinances, and the new Comp Plan with Rep. Tom Loertscher, and Rep. Marc Gibbs. Click here to read more.
- Monday, May 13th – The Commissioners aired differing opinions on guns in the courthouse. There is still no scope of work for Loosli, but Kunz and Park agreed to pay him for media interviews and the work he billed the county, which predated his contract. Click here to read more.
- Tuesday, May 28th – Loosli proposed an accelerated 12-month timeline and a new scope of work where he would now produce the county’s code and may also include replacing P&Z commissioners. Six P&Z commissioners expressed concern to the County Commissioners that Loosli’s work appears redundant with Code Studio. Commissioner Rinaldi chokes up when discussing what she perceives to be harmful decisions being made by the County Commissioners – the audience jeers. Kunz and Park expressed no concern with Loosli’s scope of work and rebuff Rinaldi’s request for Loosli to produce a cost estimate. The Commissioners also differed over County Planner Angie Rutherford’s extensive “to do” list as Kunz favors getting rid of impact fees. Click here to read more.
- Also, here is a link to VARD's June 6th OpEd. regarding the County Commissioners’ redundant spending.
So what happens next?
At their May 28th work meeting, the County Commissioners directed Mr. Loosli to seek input from the P&Z regarding his newly proposed scope of work and accelerated 12-month timeline. Thus, on Tuesday, June 11th, Mr. Loosli met with P&Z and informed them of Commissioner Park's directive to add up to 4 more people to the existing P&Z commission. This news caught P&Z by surprise and took up most of the evening's discussion. A follow up meeting with Mr. Loosli and P&Z has been scheduled for 5:00PM on Tuesday, July 2nd in the County Courthouse in Driggs.
- If you have thoughts, comments or concerns about the crafting of Teton County’s new zoning code, or how Mr. Loosli’s work will be coordinated with the Code Studios, public comment may be taken at this meeting, or comment can be emailed to: email@example.com.
I'm frustrated with the decisions being made by our County Commissioners. What can I do?
Here are 3 things you can do:
- Positive change in the decisions being made by the Board of County Commissioners starts with YOU! Stay engaged! Read the papers. Talk to your friends and neighbors. Your elected Commissioners serve you – so write to them and hold them accountable. firstname.lastname@example.org
- You can also comment in-person directly to the County Commissioners at their “Morning Open Mic” session starting promptly at 9am on Monday, June 24th.
- In addition, Teton County will host another "Town Hall Meeting" on Monday, June 24 from 7-8:30 pm. This is another opportunity to provide direct comment in-person to your County Commissioners
*ALL of these meetings will be held of the First Floor of the Teton County Courthouse in Driggs.