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Driggs Centre conditional use permit (CUP) application for a lumber store/hardware store

Decision Makers: Teton County, ID P&Z Commission

Topic: Driggs Centre conditional use permit (CUP) application for a lumber store/hardware store


March 3, 2008

Teton County P&Z Commission

89 North Main Street

Driggs, Idaho 83422

Dear Commissioners,

VARD does not support this CUP application because we agree with the County’s policy to not grant a CUP where the underlying zoning would deem the use impermissible. The applicant previously had this zoned changed from Ag2.5 to M1, and now they seek a CUP for a “lumber store/hardware store.”[1] The CUP application indicates that this will not be a manufacturing plant, but a retail facility for lumber and hardware.[2] The problem is the Teton County land use chart does not permit such uses in M1 zoning. According to the September 25, 2007 version of the chart, a hardware store is not permitted in M1 zoning. A lumber plant is conditionally permitted in M1 zoning at the discretion of the county P&Z commission and Board of County Commissioners, but a plant is not the same thing as a store. Section 8-4-2 of the County Code defines a “hardware store” as:

A retail store, which engages primarily in, the sale of basic hardware lines such as: tool, plumbing and electric supplies, paint, household appliances, garden supplies.

This definition is categorized under “commercial uses” in the code. There is no definition of a “lumber plant.” When looking at the definitions of “cheese plant” and a “processing plant” under the “manufacturing uses” section of the code it is abundantly clear that a plant is a place where products are processed and made ready for distribution.[3] That is totally different from a store that sells lumber.

VARD supports the county’s efforts to update the land use chart. VARD also believes that the scope of a CUP must be narrowly defined to avoid future added uses that are undesirable. Thus, it is important that the CUP application’s stated purpose accurately reflects the intended use of the CUP. This is not just an issue of semantics. The underlying purpose of the CUP will pave the way for its future uses. The hardware stores of today sell a wide variety of products from toys to pet supplies. Many include accompanying cafes and even books stores.  These types of commercial uses will compete with the City of Driggs, as prohibited by the Comprehensive Plan. The few commercial uses conditioned in the County’s M1 zoning are businesses that go hand-in-hand with manufacturing uses, like building material sales and fuel storage. It is important that the commercial uses in the area be carefully defined. If what the applicant truly seeks is only a building supply store, then the application needs to accurately reflect this.

            Sincerely,  Anna Trentadue

[1] See page 5 of the CUP Application: “The applicant is proposing a lumber store/hardware store . . . “ See also page 11: “The applicant wishes to construct a lumber store/hardware store operation in multiple phases.”

[2] See page 11: “The intent is to make good directly available to consumers by Summer of 2008.”

[3] See Teton County Code 8-4-2, pages 36 and 39.


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