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Teton County Commissioners couldn’t come to a consensus on Friday afternoon while considering stricter guidelines for non-essential construction worksites.

In addition to construction practices during an emergency declaration in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, additional policies including restricting short-term vacation rentals and having visitors quarantine for 14 days after arrival in Teton County was dropped from the county’s agenda on Friday, likely to focus on the construction discussion.

Friday’s meeting was met with frustration and exhaustion as Commission Chair Cindy Riegel has been adamant this last week that Teton County pass a more restrictive self-isolation ordinance locally that would tighten up short-term rentals and provide greater guidance over construction sites. She has repeatedly pointed to current outbreak of COVID-19 in Blaine County, Idaho; a county that has also passed a similar ordinance restricting short-term rentals and non-essential construction.

This week commissioners tasked the county building department to gather information that could be adopted by commissioners addressing construction worksites during the Idaho Governor’s state mandated self-isolation order.

At the Friday meeting, Riegel expressed her disappointment with the Prosecuting Attorney Billie Siddoway for not having readily provided the commission legal council on the policies.

Siddoway pushed back asking why the commissioners directed a county employee to draft a policy such as the one in hand and then fail to post the proposed policy with the Friday agenda. She added that nothing was sent to her for review in a timely manner.

Siddoway asked that the commission first work through the legal hurdles particularly when it came to a policy in which constitutional rights were at play. She added that she did have some issues with the proposed policy that included a contractor’s right to appeal the policy when the county sought to put conditions on a building permit after the fact.

Riegel stressed that because the county was in an emergency declaration, she wanted to work fast and get more protections in place. Commissioner Bob Heneage said he didn’t find the policy unconstitutional and added that the state and the federal government gave local jurisdictions the right to place stricter ordinances in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Riegel agreed to revise the policy and Siddoway asked that it be emailed to her by Friday evening so she could review it. Riegel said in a text message to the Teton Valley News that on Monday the additional restrictions to short term rentals will "hopefully" be considered too.

The meeting time was not set as of Friday, April 3 at 5 p.m.


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