Buckrail Ranch, a 24-lot subdivision proposed for a 79-acre property northwest of Tetonia, is one step closer to fruition after the Teton Board of County Commissioners approved the preliminary plat on June 14.
The subdivision has slowly made its way through the county planning process, with five meetings so far devoted to Buckrail Ranch; because it is in the Tetonia Area of Impact, officials from the city as well as the county have so far reviewed the concept plan and preliminary plat.
Buckrail Ranch is on the northeast corner of the intersection of Highway 33 and 32 and could be the first large subdivision on Highway 32 in Teton County. The subdivision plan outlines 24 total lots with an internal road and a series of five roundabouts leading through the neighborhood. Four lots on the exterior would be larger than the 20 2.5-acre lots inside the rectangle, and the plan proposes landscaping buffers along Highway 33 and 32.
The county does not require open space for subdivisions that aren’t planned unit developments, but Tetonia has requested that the developer set aside at least 7.9 acres of open space, which will be along the west and south sides of the development.
Some nearby property owners have expressed concern that runoff in high water years sometimes inundates the property in question. Project consultant Brent Crowther explained to the county commissioners on Monday that the runoff from upstream properties was the responsibility of those owners, not Buckrail Ranch, and the subdivision is proposing some grading adjustments and shallow injection wells to mitigate the potential for flooding.
Commissioner Bob Heneage said he felt the 2.5-acre density of the lots was an appropriate use for the location because it was within the Tetonia Area of Impact. “It seems like a pretty reasonable, good solution for this site,” he said.
Commissioner Mike Whitfield voiced a more general concern about allowing individual septic systems and wells in dense subdivisions across the county.
Commission chair Cindy Riegel suggested that the subdivision’s original plan of developing 20 lots and leaving the four exterior lots vacant seemed to better meet the goal of the county comprehensive plan to preserve open space, as well as possibly mitigating the runoff concern. The commissioners agreed to approve the preliminary plat with the request that the developer consider reverting to the plan of 20 residential lots, and a requirement that the trees along the highway be placed more strategically to lessen the risk of wildlife-vehicle collisions and retain the scenic views of the Tetons from the road.
The final plat application will go back to the City of Tetonia for a recommendation before coming before the county planning and zoning commission and county commissioners.