In November the Teton County Planning & Zoning Commission will consider a conditional use permit application for a large RV park and campground to the south of Hatch’s Corner, the bend in Highway 33 between Driggs and Tetonia.
The 37-acre property, which is on the west side of the highway, is zoned rural residential A-2.5, so applicants Ben and Lacy Welch need a conditional use permit to build their proposed Teton West Resort & RV Park, a new recreational facility that would offer over 100 sites and structures for campers.
The first phase of the resort will be developed immediately off the highway, with an estimated 97 RV parking stalls as well as 10 cabins, a tent area, an office, a playground, and a walking trail. The Welches intend to use W 5250 N as the main ingress and egress road, in hopes of reducing the traffic impact to the highway, although travelers will still be able to exit the resort via 33.
The adjacent land is mostly undeveloped, with a few homes nearby and Drawknife Billiards to the south. South Leigh Creek meanders by just north of the proposed resort. The property is within three overlays: South Leigh Creek Priority Wetland Habitat; Big Game Migration Corridors and Seasonal Range; and Songbird/Raptor Breeding and Wintering Habitat.
The Welches are from Heber City, Utah and have held many jobs in state parks and other natural resource fields.
“We’ve always been around campgrounds,” Ben Welch said. “We’re big recreators and we love to travel in our fifth wheel camper. With the kids getting older, we decided we wanted to start a new chapter.”
Five years ago, they began looking for a campground location, and started visiting Teton Valley shortly thereafter. They made offers on a few properties before landing on the Hatch’s Corner parcel.
“We saw the lack of places to stay here while we were on vacation, and thought Driggs would be a great opportunity,” Ben said. “When we found this property, we saw that the potential was there to create our dream.”
He and Lacy have worked with Jason Letham of Stillwater Designs to create what they feel is an attractive product, and learned that Letham actually grew up on that property and knew it well. He helped them design an open concept plan with wide roads and long pull-throughs to accommodate large modern RVs. The second phase envisions a future clubhouse, glamping sites, cabins, yurts, and pavilions, and the family hopes to eventually build a house on the western side of the lot.
“It’ll be a family-owned, mom-and-pop venture,” Lacy said. “We’ll be on site every day to provide top-level service.”
She added that their two daughters, aged seven and eight, have already planned out their own jobs at the campground; one will work the front desk, while the other will roam the grounds chatting with guests.
Teton West Resort and RV Park is just one of two CUP applications for resorts that P&Z will weigh in November. Moose Creek Ranch outside of Victor is also requesting a CUP in order to expand its offerings. As the P&Z has just welcomed four new commissioners and will soon address several CUP applications, county staff will hold a training session about CUPs for the commissioners on Oct. 29 at 4 p.m. The meeting is open to the public but no specific applications will be discussed.
The public hearing for Teton West will be held on Nov. 12 at 5:30 p.m. at the county courthouse. Comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org until the comment deadline of Nov. 5. More information is available at www.tetoncountyidaho.gov/additionalInfo.php?deptID=17&pkTopics=729.