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Trail Creek Crossing

Decision Makers: Victor Planning & Zoning Commission

Topic: Trail Creek Crossing

or
Planning and Zoning Commission
PO Box 122
Victor, ID 83455

March 11, 2008

Dear Members of the Victor Planning and Zoning Commission,

I am writing on behalf of Valley Advocates for Responsible Development (VARD) regarding Trail Creek Crossing. This letter supercedes the letter I wrote yesterday. VARD is heartily in favor of many elements of this plan including its mixed-use component, the fact that it is within
walking distance of downtown Victor, that if all three phases are completed there will be a range of housing opportunities and choices, that it has a compact design and is already located close to services. Our two areas of concern are that 1) because the property is located in
the Trail Creek Overlay Zone, the developers be required to take certain measures to maintain the integrity of the flood plain and that 2) the P and Z discuss deed restricting or including language in the developer’s agreement that would ensure this development remains mixed
use.

Victor’s Comprehensive Plan specifically requires that the flood plain be protected, and VARD is, therefore, concerned about any hard surface being put in the flood plain, particularly directly adjacent to the creek. Policy 4 of General Land Use Goals in the Victor Comprehensive
Plan states, “encourage compatible uses of floodplain areas, such as for agriculture or open space and recreation.” Policy 4 of Historic Preservation Policies also states, “Preservation of the Trail Creek Flood Plain and other natural features of the City of Victor should be
undertaken through planning, development controls and specific activities for future open space usage.” Policy 8 of Hazardous Areas Goals further guides decision makers to “restrict activities destructive of vegetation in designated riparian areas.” In Chapter 13 Special Areas and Sites, the Trail Creek Drainage area is identified as
one of three areas Victor residents “value and would like to maintain within the City limits.” Finally, Victor ordinances have strict regulations about building in the flood plain, and restrict building within fifty feet of the centerline of the creek.

Any riparian area in the valley is important because that is where the majority of the biodiversity, such as songbirds, raptors and big wildlife, are located. Riparian areas are often also important wildlife corridors. Trail Creek is an important resource because it is one of
three major headwaters of the river, and the flood plain allows the creek to migrate within its natural boundaries. In this instance, the health of the creek, the riparian area and the cutthroat trout that live in the creek are important to the region and their health is of principal concern to VARD.

One of the good things about this property is that there is a bench along the bank, which will help to protect the creek. The developer has taken some excellent steps to come up with a new grading system that deals with their storm water run off into the creek. Nevertheless, hard
surfaces are not appropriate for the floodplain.Therefore, we ask that the developers be required to 1) move the parts of the bike path that are closer to the creek as far out of the 100 year flood plain as
possible to at least 50 feet back from the center of the creek, and that 2) the path be made of a permeable material and be no more than several feet wide, that 3) no vegetation will be permitted to be removed from the flood plain because it is essential to the health of
the creek and that 4) the northeast parking lot be either eliminated or placed in another location where it is not in the flood plain. From a natural resources perspective a parking lot is not optimal in this location where it is so close to the creek; however, there may be other
perspectives such as a design perspective that the developer believes outweighs this concern. That is a decision that the P and Z will have to make. I talked to Meagan Hill, the Development Manager for Trail Creek Crossing, LLC, about the possibility of using one of the new more permeable and environmentally sensitive paving materials in this location. That may also be an option.

Finally, at the Sketch Plan review for Trail Creek, Ms. Hill stated that depending on market forces, the developers might consider “condominiumizing” the commercial and residential. After talking to Ms.
Hill, I understand that this term means that the units could be sold so that they would be privately owned. One of the biggest benefits VARD sees in this development is that it is mixed use. Once these units are sold, there needs to be a mechanism to ensure that the development
remains mixed use. It might not make much sense to have a building that’s entirely residential in the Central Business Zone for example. If this development has the potential to be condominiumized, the P and Z should ensure the mixture of uses remain by asking the developer to 1) deed restrict or include the appropriate language in the developer’s agreement.

Despite our concerns about the floodplain, we would like to congratulate the developers on the many positive aspects of the plan, which we hope will serve as a model for future developments in and around the downtown core.

Sincerely,

Lucy Flood

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