Land Development Code Final Draft - Comment Time is NOW

June, 15 2022



, Land Use Code

Read our E-alert HERE

Help the new Land Development Code cross the finish line!

We are at the finish line of a very long legislative effort dating all the way back to 2013. Even if you've written comments, and offered support in the past, THE TIME IS NOW for everyone to participate! 


Are you happy with the final draft of the LDC? 

Let your Commissioners know with a comment! This is a new draft code with final revisions; it needs your support to get over the finish line. 


Have some thoughts or suggestions?

Let your Commissioners know with a comment! Get specific. Ask for clarification - but check the county's FAQs page first. 😃


VARD supports the new code

In 2012, our community adopted an award winning Comprehensive Plan and has been hamstrung with the code writing process ever since. Our current zoning code has been in place since the 1990's (not a typo!) with no major revisions. That's 30 years of failing to adapt to inevitable changes in land use patterns. For the last four years, Teton County has actively worked to craft, refine, and create the current draft code that is finally up for adoption after so much time and effort. We need new zoning; our community is incredibly vulnerable to speculative development pressure under the current 2.5-acre and 20-acre rural zoning schemes. How can we protect what makes our valley special with only two zones for the entire 451 square mile county that is over 67% private lands?


Answer? We can't protect this special place with only two rural zones. 

 As a 21-year organization, we've had a front row seat to every major land use issue in Teton County since 2001, we know that a new land use code is long overdue and critically needed, and we know that whatever political affiliation you align with, land use can and will have lasting effects on the valley we all love. While our staff have specific comments for small adjustments that would help this new code (see below), we also endorse the current draft and ask the county commissioners to please adopt this code into law. 


Here are our specific comments:

Areas of Impact
We'd like a little more clarification as to which jurisdiction will regulate the zoning.

Natural Resource Overlay 
The Natural Resource Overlay (NRO) was renamed from Wildlife Habitat Overlay (WH). This new NRO seems to exclude extensive requirements for the Wildlife Habitat Assessment, and instead,  vegetative areas are to be identified and verified by a county professional, which is a step in the right direction. However, we're concerned if that means an assessment performed by a professional biologist would not be a requirement anymore. We think the county has the capacity to review an assessment - but not to perform one. 

Short Plat
The short plat process was originally pushed through to adoption by former county staff as a way to make small subdivisions/short plats (4 lots or less) easier for the planning department to review, while a plat (5 lots or more) is required to include public review. We think public review can also have many benefits on 4 lots or less. 

Public Notices
This public notice section is a carryover from the old code, with the same noticing period (generally 15 days of published & mailed notice before a public hearing). In our previous comment letter (see pp 5), we recommended that a draft staff report be available when the public hearing is noticed. Under the current process, the public is expected to do their own analysis and present their concerns prior to the planning department having done their review. We think the public needs to have the benefit of a draft staff report so they’re not having to learn the in’s and out’s of planning & zoning before they submit written or verbal comments. 

Site Plans
Site Plans should be drawn to scale (see pp 5-92).


Retaining Walls
The proposed code allows retaining walls of unlimited height (see pp 5-99) so long as one gets a building permit. We recommend a Special Use Permit for walls greater than 4’.


Vegetation Management
The Vegetation Management section (Section 5-3, pp 5-100) is quite good, but we recommend that a bond is required for grading/erosion control and revegetation. Also, though Landscaping Plans are required, there are no standards (i.e. #of shrubs, trees, ground cover). We recommend standards.


READ the FINAL draft of the Land Development Code! And if you have questions or want more information: 

1. Here is a summary of discussions and responses from the BOCC special meetings. Check out this link.


2. Here's a really useful Q&A page put together and continually updated by the Teton County planning staff.


3. If you're wondering whether this code will be voted on in the fall - the answer is NO.  Idaho law does not allow land use proposals to be adopted at the ballot box. You can read our legal analysis here in our previous email.  


PLEASE COMMENT on the draft code and offer support. 

1. Email Comments to Commissioners


2. Mail or deliver to the Planning Department at 150 Courthouse Drive, Suite 107 Driggs, ID 83422


3. Comment at the 2-8PM hearing on June 29th. The county is making it really easy to comment and not have to wait for hours on end! We recommend sending in a comment letter AND offering comment in person or via zoom. Here's the information: Signing up in advance is requested; please use this sign up sheet to sign up for the hour you would like to give your 3 minute public comment. Fifteen people may sign up per hour. This can be in person or through Zoom. You will be given a number indicating your order to speak during that hour.


ATTEND (in person or Zoom) the Public Hearing on June 29th. 

Follow Commissioners as they deliberate and move toward adoption of our new LDC. As stated above, it's simple, and you can sing up now for your time slot using this sign up sheet.

Driggs Council Holds Firm

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Niki Richards, Executive Director
(208) 354-1707
285 East Little Avenue
PO Box 1164
Driggs, ID 83422



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