On Monday the Teton Board of County Commissioners approved a conditional use permit for a church in the building at 500 Ski Hill Road, which currently houses High Peaks Physical Therapy.

Roger Shea, the senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Teton Valley, explained that his congregation, which averages 150 people, has outgrown its current space on Depot Street in Driggs, so the church is under contract to purchase the PT clinic. The Table Rock Christian School, which has eight students enrolled and employs two teachers, is a ministry of Calvary Chapel and exists under the church’s 501©(3) umbrella. The school is currently located in a little farmhouse on the highway north of Driggs, but Shea hopes to combine the two uses in the 5,500 sq ft building on Ski Hill.

While the City of Driggs doesn’t require a CUP for a school or church, the county’s code does, and the property in question is in the Driggs Area of Impact, meaning both entities have jurisdiction over it. The Driggs Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval for a church CUP last month, but Shea has encountered an issue: the school requires a separate CUP despite being so small, and that use wasn’t included in the public notice for the P&Z hearing.

“I assumed the school would be part of the deal,” he told the Teton Valley News last week. “Our perspective is that the church is the primary use and the school is part of the church. I understand it from a regulatory standpoint but not from a practical standpoint.”

Calvary Chapel was founded in 2003. Shea said as pastor he tries to teach the Bible in an accessible, expositional way, line by line and verse by verse. The school started in 2012 and will include eighth grade next school year as well as an additional teacher. Shea is also working to offer a substance abuse program through the church.

After selling the Cottonwood Corner property, the owners of High Peaks PT will relocate to a space in the Broulim’s plaza that was once occupied by The Rusty Nail (which is now in the old post office building on Wallace Avenue).

The BOCC approved the CUP for a church at Monday’s public hearing, but included the condition that Shea must go through another application process for a CUP amendment to include the school. The commissioners agreed to waive the fees for that review.

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