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Proposed Repeal of the Planned Unit Development (PUD) ordinance

Decision Makers: Board of County Commissioners – Teton County, Idaho

Topic: Proposed Repeal of the Planned Unit Development (PUD) ordinance

Teton County Board of County Commissioners
89 N, Main Street
Driggs, Idaho, 83422

August 20, 2007

Dear Commissioners,

Valley Advocates for Responsible Development (VARD) is writing in regard to the proposed repeal of the current PUD ordinance. On a planning level, we support the repeal of the PUD ordinance in its entirety because of the many issues the current ordinance has created throughout the county from Ag. 2-5 to Ag. 20 zoning as well as the various density rings.  However, we also recognize that some of the most egregious errors and vulnerabilities of the current PUD ordinance have occurred in the Ag. 20 Rural Reserve areas of the county and would support a more conservative repeal of the PUD specifically in Ag. 20 and Rural Reserve zoning.

The current PUD ordinance is clearly not working as it was originally intended. VARD believes that the two main flaws of the existing ordinance are the amount of density allowed and the weak definition of open space. These two issues are having a negative effect on other areas that the community has identified as important such as the protection of riparian areas, wildlife habitat, agricultural lands, the scenic corridor and cost of community services. A simple, clean approach to address the many issues in the current PUD is to repeal it, use the commissioned planning consulting firm to make recommendations on how to effectively implement the comprehensive plan using the PUD and replace the PUD with a new, better code. During the interim, we also support the creation of a diverse citizen group appointed by the BOCC working to address the many issues regarding the PUD. A simple repeal of the PUD would give the county time to do the work correctly without the ongoing pressure of more and more new developments.

However, recognizing the political volatility in the community, it can be expected that a repeal of the PUD may receive strong opposition and considered “obstructing growth”. That said, our community needs a better plan to manage growth for the future and as we grapple with the current development boom. In an effort to get a better plan to manage growth as well as cope with the current development boom VARD recommends that the Board of County Commissioners considers 1) repealing the PUD from Ag. 20 zoning and all Rural Reserve designated areas, and 2) remand the P&Z recommendation to not repeal the PUD back to the Planning and Zoning for more specific information on appropriate densities, a better definition of open space that incorporates language on the scenic corridor, wildlife habitat, agricultural protection, and riparian areas as well as cost of community services.  We would also strongly encourage the BOCC (and the P&Z) to require more information from new developments such as fiscal impact analyses and natural resource inventories to ensure that new growth is paying for itself and that open space designs conserve community values.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Kathy Rinaldi, Executive Director

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