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Teton Valley 2020 Comprehensive Plan

Decision Makers: Teton County Planning & Zoning Commission

Topic: Teton Valley 2020 Comprehensive Plan

June 12, 2012

Dear Teton County Planning & Zoning Commission:

On behalf of the VARD staff, Board of Directors, and our membership of over 500 community members, we would like to register comment on proposed changes in Chapter 5 of the Draft Comprehensive Plan. The Industrial/Research/Live-work Zone (IRL Zone) fulfills an important component of economic development in Teton County, Idaho. Research and industrial facilities will help build vibrancy and economic sustainability. However the very recent addition of ‘Heavy Industrial’ to the list of appropriate land uses appears compatible in only one of the three proposed locations.

Chapter 6 of the Comprehensive Plan confirms the desire of Teton County to attract industries that are “knowledge-based (and) could include insurance, financial services and web-based businesses.” The Economic Development implementation plan supports incentives for the “attraction of environmentally friendly technologies, value added agriculture, recreational technologies, or visitor oriented businesses to congregate together in a mutually supportive manner to create an industry cluster.”

Given the incompatibility between oftentimes noisy and intensive heavy industrial activity and highly desired tech and knowledge-based jobs, we support differentiating zones for Heavy and Light Industrial uses. Of the three currently proposed IRL Zones, it appears that two of the zones currently offer the infrastructure and amenities that appeal to light industry, service, and research facilities while one appeals to heavier industrial uses:

• Driggs Centre: The IRL Zone to the southeast of Driggs (the intended location of the Driggs Centre Business Park) should not include Heavy Industrial activity. As a vacant 60-acre business park with nearly all infrastructure complete, this location is ideal for attracting a large business in need of a multi-acre campus. The Economic Development subcommittee had discussed promoting this large site in its entirety as a potential campus for a business to move to Teton Valley.

• North of the Driggs Airport: The IRL Zone to the north of the Driggs airport (which is over 200 acres in size) may be appropriate for heavy industrial use, but it is within the City of Driggs Impact Area, and language should be consistent with the City of Driggs Comprehensive Plan.

• Northeast of Victor: The IRL Zone on the northeastern border of Victor is also not compatible with heavy industrial operations. That zone borders several residential developments such as Sage Hen condominiums and currently contains successful commercial operations such as the Wildwood Room that could be damaged by heavy industrial use. The proposed Scenic Bike Route that has received substantial public support also passes closely to that zone. The noise and trucking traffic that comes with heavy industrial operations is not compatible with safe and scenic bike pathways.

Additionally, infill of appropriate light industrial and commercial uses should be prioritized inside the Urban Impact Area. Both Heavy and Light Industrial use should also be clearly defined in the Appendix. I’ve attached the American Planning Association’s professional definitions, based on compiled code from representative communities.

Best regards,

Stacey Frisk
Executive Director
Valley Advocates for Responsible Development

Read the full pdf version with the attachments here.

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