What a Week! Our effectiveness is built on our deep relationships within the community.
April, 14 2023
After hours of presentation,
discussion & deliberation...
Teton County Planning & Zoning Commissioners
the High Noon Ranch Concept Plan
Over 5 months ago, VARD staff first physically met with High Noon Ranch developers; we were hopeful that we could work with them to come up with a development proposal we could support, and that they would take our suggestions and approach development in Teton Valley with care and respect, or not at all. We spent hours in meetings with their team and followed up with detailed items for them to consider and address.
Our first ask was for the project team to host a community meeting to determine if a dude ranch was something we envision here in the Valley - and if so, would their choice in location be a place where it would fit within the Comprehensive Plan & County Code. Our team offered to help with outreach for a meeting and we were sure it would be well attended. What we did not suggest was what the development team did - host an exclusive event in Jackson for about a dozen Teton Valley residents. Jeannette Boner's article in the Jackson Hole News & Guide, Jackson Hole dinner tees up dude ranch, is a great read.
VARD was encouraged by the development team's desire to meet with us right out of the gate, and disappointed that it turned out they may have been 'checking a box' rather than making an honest attempt to choose responsible development.
Those of us that are lucky enough to call Teton Valley home, understand that protecting it is a priority!
Thank you to everyone who wrote thoughtful letters and made public comment. Thank you to all Commissioners for the hours you put in to making recommendations on behalf of our community. It takes a Valley...
Driggs Planning & Zoning Commission recommends approval of Bidache 2.0 rezone with multiple conditions to be reviewed in May
This is the visualization for the new Bidache 2.0 tree preservation proposal. In the red area, there would be a 100' tree buffer maintained to the east. The purple area can potentially be developed in the future, per whatever regulations are in the Driggs' code, but through a series of compromises the purple area will be preserved to the greatest extent possible. For example, Driggs would reduce the parking requirements by 50% to free up more space to save trees.
What happened at the April 12th hearing?
This is the second-attempt at a commercial rezone along Highway 33 across from South Bates road. It has long history which we have covered extensively in our past emails. At the April 12th, 2023 Driggs Planning & Zoning hearing, the Commissioners deliberated until late at night, crafting multiple conditions attached to their recommendation for approval of the Bidache 2.0 rezone - listed below. The P&Z will review (and potentially revise as needed) the staff's written statement of decision in May, before giving their final stamp of approval prior to sending it on to City Council for another public hearing.
Conditions of Approval:
(1) An easement be established that would allow for at least a 60' right of way to align with S. Bates, per ITD requirements, at a length of up to 200' as required by the City
(2) Design Review overlay be applied to the entire parcel
(3) Wildlife-friendly fencing to be required if fencing is proposed
(4) A 100' wide mature tree buffer be established along the eastern property line and protected in perpetuity
(5) All treed areas protected until the time of development, at such time all mature vegetation will be subject to the LDC
(6) A waiver of the requirement that the top floor of a 45' building be occupied by residential uses
(7) The developer may propose a reduction in the minimum parking requirement of up to 50%
(8) A waiver of the required internal parking landscaping
(9) When development is proposed, a Qualified Impact Analysis, which includes an analysis of impacts on public services, a traffic impact analysis, estimated cost of public services, estimates tax revenue, and suggested means of financing the cost of public services if the cost would not be offset by tax revenue, be submitted.
Here's a flattering screenshot 😆 of one of several calls between VARD attorney, Anna Trentadue and Bidache attorney, Jeff Bower, to discuss crafting a rezone compromise solution that could be palatable to both the City of Driggs and the general community.
What's VARD's role in all of this?
We are proud to say that what started out as a highly contentious standoff between the City and the Bidache legal team has calmed down into a long, thoughtful negotiation process. Three months ago, Bidache Inc. was prepared to serve the city of Driggs with a summons for a lawsuit, but our staff attorney leaned hard on the Bidache team to consider a compromise process with the City in lieu of litigation. We have worked to help the concerned neighbors of this project best utilize the public comment process. And we have been in consistent contact with the City staff to understand their concerns and goals. As recently reported by the Teton Valley News (Bidache Development to Get Another Go at Rezone by Connor Shea) our position is that "Communication between the city and the developer can lead to a thoughtfully crafted “workaround”, where the habitat can be preserved in exchange for being more lenient on other development standards — such as parking requirements. . . . the city can hold firm on its values, and still find a compromise here." With legal tensions now calmed, the Bidache team is no longer in a defensive rush to approval. They are willing to take the process as it comes and negotiate agreements along the way. Yes, many neighbors are not thrilled that a commercial rezone is being considered here once again. However, our organization believes "responsible development" means taking a (sometimes painful and hard) objective look at the best use of a property, and then use our extensive personal relationships within Teton Valley (and the greater Idaho legal community) to find creative solutions.
Grand Targhee Base Area Development
TCWY BoCC Public Hearing - April 18th @ 9am
TO WATCH THE MEETING ONLINE: Video Streaming Link (no participation)
TO MAKE PUBLIC COMMENT VIRTUALLY: LINK TO JOIN WEBINAR
Now is the time to let Teton County, WY Board of County Commissioners know your thoughts on the GTR base area development proposal. Read VARD's comment letter below and join us in strongly urging Teton County WY to work with Teton County ID on all GTR planning and development decisions.
Comments from Alta residents may be especially significant.
Tuesday, April 18th @ 9am
Passcode: 786144 Or by Telephone: 17193594580 Webinar ID: 849 3491 6353
TETON COUNTY ADMINISTRATION BUILDING COMMISSIONERS MEETING ROOM
200 S. WILLOW IN JACKSON, WYOMING
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