Donate Now

Second River Rim re-plat comment letter for Aug 13, 2013 hearing.

Decision Makers: Teton County Planning & Zoning Commission

Topic: Second River Rim re-plat comment letter for Aug 13, 2013 hearing.

August 1, 2013

Teton County Planning & Zoning Commission

150 Courthouse Drive

Driggs, Idaho 83422


RE: Comments on the River Rim submittals for the August 12, 2013 hearing.

Dear Commissioners:

Having reviewed the materials for the August 12, 2013 hearing, we greatly appreciate Glacier Bank’s willingness to compromise on two very important issues: (1) updating the letter of credit to 125% to ensure incomplete infrastructure will be finished and (2) obtaining the landowner signatures on the Development Agreement to ensure that the originally promised open space will be preserved.  However, in order to still ensure this re-plat application complies with the requirements of Chapter 7 and  truly qualifies as a “decrease” in use and impact, we respectfully submit the following comments:

1.     Plans for restoration of the golf course should be more detailed and implemented by 2014:  In order to control blight and create the functional open space that the developer originally promised in the Planned Unit Development (PUD) negotiation process, the golf course area which was razed and left barren since at least 2010 should be addressed immediately.  We still support the planning staff’s recommendation that reclamation be completed by December 31, 2014 – and not three years from now as proposed by the applicant.  All vagueries in the plan should also be resolved now: The steps for reclamation outlined in the Development Agreement (page 6) and Phasing Plan (pages 2-4) should be better defined with firm dates.  (For example, what does “Agricultural Practices” mean? What does “Fall 2014” mean?)  The parkway plan must be fully bonded.  Weed management  and ongoing landscape maintenance should be included in the engineer’s cost estimate. And finally, the Golf Area Landscape Restoration Plan should be incorporated into the Development Agreement. 

2.     Please uphold the Idaho Department of Fish & Game’s recommendations for wildlife protections in the South Canyon Phase.  This Board previously requested the expertise of the Idaho Department of Fish & Game (IDFG) be enlisted to advise on the river setbacks and width of wildlife corridor in the South Canyon Phase.  IDFG has made their recommendations, and staff has also supported these recommendation as conditions of approval.  In light of Biota’s June 27, 2013 rebuttal to IDFG’s recommendations, IDFG has still reiterated their support for their previously recommended separation distances and setbacks.  Now this Board stands poised to potentially reject all of IDFG’s recommendations.  Why ask for IDFG’s expertise at all if it will ultimately be disregarded?

3.     Please consider these limitations on incidental uses:

a.         Identify incidental uses by scenario:  There are two potential  scenarios for River Rim: a golf course development, or a parkway development.  Each scenario creates a different set of incidental uses.  (For example, there is no need for a pro-shop if River Rim becomes a parkway development.)  In order to ensure that all incidental uses are truly “incidental, necessary, or desirable and appropriate with respect to the primary purpose of the PUD”[1] that is someday built, all incidental uses should be identified under either scenario.  (i.e. What uses are allowed if the golf course is completed and what uses are allowed if the park is constructed instead?)

b.         The 2% rule applies at all times.  Because River Rim is in limbo, it presently remains uncertain as to how much acreage within this PUD may ultimately be developed. Thus, the Development Agreement should include a restriction that at any given time,  “no more that two percent (2%) of the developed acreage within the PUD”[2] can be devoted to incidental uses.  Incidental uses must remain proportionate as 2% of the currently developed acreage at all times.

c.          Size restrictions, design review, and landscape requirements for incidental uses – particularly those that are visible from Highway 33.  In order to avoid another scenario similar to the highly-visible 50,000 square foot arena in Saddleback Vistas  (which was also approved as an incidental use) this Board should impose size restrictions and landscaping requirements for incidental uses – particularly for those structures that will be external to the development and visible from Highway 33. Construction of all incidental structures should also be subject to design review.  For example, the wording of the newly proposed Development Agreement would allow for the construction of six additional detached lodge units with no county-imposed size limitation.  These will likely be visible from the highway.

I am writing this letter without the benefit of the Teton County Staff Report and the recommendations it will include.  So for now, I will just say that we at VARD  appreciate the ongoing effort of this re-plat negotiation, and hope to ultimately endorse this proposed re-plat as consistent with the requirements of Chapter 7 as an acceptable solution to what is an incredibly complicated problem.




Stacey Frisk

Executive Director

Valley Advocates for Responsible Development


CC/: Mr. Robert Ablondi

[1] T.C.C. 9-7-5-A (2005, 2006).

[2] T.C.C. 9-7-5-B (2005, 2006).


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *