Letter in support of Calvary Chapel rezone/CUP with a few questions and comments included.
Decision Makers: Driggs Planning & Zoning Commission
Topic: Letter in support of Calvary Chapel rezone/CUP with a few questions and comments included.
This is a practical location for establishment of a school campus as neighborhood infill. By my count, there are approximately 127 units of multi-bedroom condos immediately to the west. That is more housing than the entire city of Tetonia.
I vividly recall how semi-industrial uses that were previously proposed in this very same area (such as the recycled lumber yard) clashed so intensely with neighboring businesses like the mortuary, medical clinic, and senior care facility. Beyond the noise, dust, and unsightliness, the lumber yard did ultimately create an imminent health and safety risk to the residents living right behind it, some of whom I know personally. A school should pose no such conflicts with this mixed-use area, and will hopefully be a permanent asset to nearby residents and businesses.
More specifically, I do have the following questions and comments to submit:
- Pathways Connectivity: Multimodal connectivity to schools is a very important consideration when sighting a campus. Here, it would make sense to provide for two pathways connectivity locations:
- Connectivity to the sidewalks along the condos to the west (current or future students may live in the condos!)
- Also tie into the bike path planned for HWY 33.
- Detailed Site Plans: At what point in time are more detailed plans submitted showing the actual campus? (The tiny plan that was submitted is hard to read.) More details may be needed to meet the statutory criteria for a Conditional Use Permit.
- Student Safety: Can the abandoned house to the south be razed? Does a safety perimeter need to be established to keep children off the highway?
- Establishment of an Urban Growth Boundary: In order to continue promoting infill of this area, the time has come for Driggs to establish a growth boundary. Victor has adopted a similar boundary, which has enabled the city to focus inward while demonstrating a clear intent to not expand until infill is achieved. In order to prevent this school from being an impetus for new sprawl to the north, please consider establishing the Valley Centre neighborhood as the northernmost growth boundary for Driggs.
- Rethinking the C2 Zone: This is more of a “Big Picture” comment. Please consider establishing a zone that is unique to this neighborhood. Right now, the same C2 zone exists in this area and also adjacent to downtown Driggs. However, these are two distinct locations with very different looks, defining characteristics, land use patterns, and functions. I support the staff’s recommendation for the Calvary Chapel application to be a conditional rezone. That way, if for some reason the school is not built, the zoning can be reverted, which will enable Code Studio, the residents, and the City to take a hard look at what zoning belongs out there in North Driggs during the code writing process.
I hope this school is successful and can someday expand. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
Program Director and Staff Attorney
Valley Advocates for Responsible Development (VARD)
P.O. Box 1164
Driggs, ID 83422
Fax: (208) 354-1709