Ridgeline Ranch PUD, Preliminary Plat Application
Decision Makers: Planning & Zoning Commission – Teton County, ID
Topic: Ridgeline Ranch PUD, Preliminary Plat Application
June 3, 2008
RE: Ridgeline Ranch PUD Preliminary Plat
Our chief concern with this development is the high density of housing units (32 units per 100 acres) in such a steep and rural area of the county and the location of the housing units in the high priority habitat as identified by their environmental consultants. At concept, this commission voted to approve this concept plan on the condition that the developer reduce density, get rid of roads, and negotiate for connectivity with surrounding developments. Here we are at preliminary and many of these concerns are still at issue. For example, the project had 82 units at concept. Despite this commission’s density concerns, the developer is now proposing 91 units! Moreover, approximately 40 of these 91 lots are in the wildlife conflict areas. They have pulled the lots away from River Rim, but the record does not indicate any other effort to coordinate connectivity.
The PUD process is supposed to be a negotiation by which the community gains benefits in exchange for higher densities. A development’s higher densities and open space configurations need to be justified in light of what community benefits are given in return. Moreover, the record needs to reflect a give and take by which the developer addresses the community’s concerns. VARD therefore respectfully submits the following inquiries:
• The north end of our valley is one of the last areas with large expanses of intact wildlife habitat, and it is important that developments in this area preserve meaningful, connected tracts of land for big game movement. There is a large-scale planning effort by north end developers to line up their projects to preserve contiguous, meaningful tracks of habitat. It might just be the best way to preserve the rural character of the north end. What has this developer done to participate in this coordinated effort with other north end developers?
• Almost half of the lots are located in high priority habitat as identified in their natural resources inventory. How does the developer justify their current development plan in light of their consultant’s critical habitat mapping and recommendations?
We at VARD believe that this project is large enough, and located in such a rural area, that it must be held to the same standards and rigorous scrutiny as other north end developments. It is the fair and consistent approach to ensuring developments that benefits the entire community.