High Noon Dude Ranch is Back
April, 3 2023
, Land Use Code
HIGH NOON DUDE RANCH
Planning & Zoning Public Hearing - Tuesday, April 11th @ 5pm
Email comments by TOMORROW, Tuesday, April 4th to firstname.lastname@example.org or use the link below.
Attend the hearing and comment via Zoom or in person.
All previous comments will still be part of the record.
High Noon Dude Ranch is back on the docket for April 11th with a few changes to their concept plan application, including a reduced number of proposed residential lots (from 80 to 39) and relocation of those lots into a more clustered formation.
The hearing is slated to be last on the agenda for the evening - and the agenda should be available to view by Wednesday. For updates on a more accurate hearing time, you can link to the county's meeting portal where you can also find the agenda for the hearing.
THE VALUE OF VARD
We met with potential developers of High Noon Dude Ranch in January and suggested a town meeting. This is NOT what we had in mind...
Sometime in last two weeks, developers seeking approvals from the County for the High Noon Dude Ranch DID hold a meeting. It was held at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (not in our community at all) and we're unclear if any neighbors of the property were invited - much less an open invitation for the community to come view such a large potential project and provide feedback to would-be Teton Valley Dude Ranch developers. At VARD, we work with developers interested in responsible development - and while we can't make a developer care about our community, we can call it like we see it. Our staff spent quite a bit of time meeting with the development team and working to provide them with a detailed list of ways their vision may work here - starting with a project meeting/open house for the community to attend - ultimately, determining whether the location they seek to develop is feasible at concept. We offered to help with inviting the community, providing visuals, and attending a project meeting/open house. Our team was hopeful that prior to High Noon Ranch popping up on the public hearing agenda, they would have used the time they've had to engage with the community. What we didn't suggest, or offer to help with, was an exclusive event for a select dozen folks complete with a heli-skiing trip (sorry that fell through), massages and dinner. During the 'meeting' portion of this event, the developer's representative asked for letters of support for the High Noon Ranch development.*
It may be common practice for developers to attempt to buy community support in other places, but that doesn't fly in Teton Valley!
If you were invited to this event, please let us know.
*As we know, comment letters are meant to be substantive and help voice our questions, comments and concerns so decision makers can accurately assess a project before approval, or denial.
Info from our previous email
How High Do You Think We Are, High Noon Ranch?!
Eight days. One hundred ninety-two hours. Luxury property venture capitalist, John Stern, of Jupiter, Florida, submitted his application for an enormous, 532-acre, dude ranch/housing resort along the remote foothills of the Big Hole Mountains - just eight days before the new Teton County Land Development Code was adopted - hoping it would be grandfathered in under the County's now rescinded zoning codes. The High Noon Ranch residential resort is proposed in a very rural area that has not been prioritized for large scale housing or any kind of commercial recreation ventures.
What is the difference between the old and new code? (updated)
The difference is stark. Under the newly adopted zoning code, this property would be protected under 10-acre and 35-acre zoning. Attempting to squeeze in under the old code, this resort proposal includes 39 housing units, 69 dude ranch cabins, a main ranch house, dining hall, employee housing, parking lot, and two artificial ponds to be created out of Dude Creek. The average lot size for the residential lots is 1.25 acres.
What are the main issues with the proposal?
While farm and ranching settlers have been in Teton Valley for over 140 years, this area of the Valley has consistently remained one of the most sparsely populated due to the difficulties in accessing water. Nearby developments such as West Ridge Ranch (the last development to be platted in this area - over 15 years ago) have been plagued by water problems. The availability of water is a critical issue here. There has been no demonstration by Stern's team that they have the water rights or are in the process of acquiring sufficient water rights for domestic use, landscaping, the proposed ponds, or even fire protection. Located over nine miles (along rural dirt roads) from the nearest fire station, the property is not only very remote, it's also encumbered by multiple wildlife overlays, steep slopes over 30 degrees, and the wildfire hazard overlay.
We believe High Noon Ranch should not be grandfathered under the old code.
Of all the proposals currently attempting to squeeze in under the old code, this one is perhaps one of the most troubling in terms of size, scale, impacts, and remote location. Very few materials have been provided by the High Noon Ranch team thus far. It is our organization's position that such incomplete proposals should not be entitled to grandfathering under the older, more lenient code. We encourage everyone in the community to actively track this process along with us. Please participate in vigorously opposing High Noon Ranch. It should not be granted approval under the old ordinances.
Application material from prior concept plan dated 6/28/22:
- Concept Plan Application
- Concept Narrative
- Concept Survey & Site Plan
- Teton County Planning Department Staff Report AND public comment letters submitted to date including comments from the U.S. Forest Service and Teton Regional Land Trust.
- VARD'S Comment Letter outlines our organization's concerns in greater detail.
- Friends of the Teton River's Comment Letter highlights the importance of proactively resolving the critical water issues with this large proposal.
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