After a well-attended public hearing on May 18, the Teton County Planning & Zoning Commission will begin the process of digesting the community’s concerns and comments on the proposed new land development code and applying them to a revised draft of the document. The commission will start with a work session on June 15, and may hold more meetings before hosting a second public hearing to receive further comments on the draft.
In a press release put out June 3, Teton County gave an overview of the specific concerns from the community. The list, included in its entirety below, was assembled by a staff member from Logan Simpson, the consultant firm that has been guiding the process.
Two new members, appointed by the county commissioners at their May 24 meeting, were sworn in before the regularly scheduled P&Z meeting on June 8, during which the commission reviewed six land use applications.
The P&Z work session will go from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 15. The meeting will be live-streamed on the county’s website (tetoncountyidaho.gov) and on Zoom, and will be recorded. The commission will not take further public comment during the work session. Find more information on the process, as well as the complete draft code, on the county website under “Land Development Code Update.”
From the Teton County press release: Highlight of Comments
In general, there was support for the shift to average density, the general reorganization, and many of the components of the proposed update. Oppositions to specific portions of the draft voiced during April and May are summarized below along with basic comments or discussion that ensued on each topic.
a) There was a question regarding the need to distinguish between commercial and residential.
b) People felt that provisions do not allow enough hives on a property, specifically with regards to residential beekeeping. Suggestions from seasoned beekeepers were made to increase the allowance to a minimum of 2 hives with the caveat that 4 hives is a more appropriate starting point for basic functionality of a beehive.
c) There was a question regarding the difference in setback distances between commercial and residential.
d) The statement in residential beekeeping about personal use provided confusion as to whether or not 4-H projects would be allowed and should be clarified. It was not the intention of the code to exclude this use.
e) There was some concern regarding large scale introduction of bees for alfalfa pollination and how that would fit into the standards.
2. Agriculture Structures
a) There was concern over a portion of text in Section 3-4-2(A) which states that agricultural buildings shall not be used as a place of employment.
3. Campgrounds and RVs
a) There was concern over the proposed density of RV campgrounds not being high enough to be economically feasible.
b) It was questioned how agritourism would fit into the uses, would it be a campground or dude ranch, or does another use need to be defined to cover this?
a) Concern was expressed about the County Sheriff being the representative code enforcement officer and the burden this will place on the Sheriff’s department.
5. Home Occupations
a) Concern was expressed over the stated limitations on number of clients, number of parking spaces for the business, and deliveries per day being too restrictive.
6. Natural Resource Protections
a) There was a lot of support for this section.
b) Comments included a request for larger setbacks from riparian corridors and providing stronger incentives for preservation of open space via conservation easements.
7. Places of Worship
a) The biggest concern was the minimum lot size of 5 acres which is more restrictive than other institutional uses and should be equal or less restrictive per federal regulations.
8. Scenic Corridor Protections
a) Comments in support of the scenic corridor suggested expanding to protect viewsheds along Bates Road, 6000 South, 4500 West, and 5000 West as well as mapping the areas to avoid confusion.
b) Concerns were raised regarding existing homes that are within the proposed setbacks and what restrictions will be placed on remodels, rebuilds and new buildings visible along the scenic corridor.
9. Short Term Rentals
a) There was concern over the proposed occupancy of two people per bedroom which may not allow for the extra capacity of pullout couches and lofts. This provision was intended to determine occupancy of a structure for a Short Term Rental Permit.
b) It was suggested to base the occupancy on septic capacity or provide the property owner the opportunity to increase capacity with a plan to mitigate off-site impacts like on-street parking, noise, etc.
10. Wildlife Fencing
a) Concern was expressed about the wildlife fencing detail included in the proposed update with regards to agricultural property because it would not contain farm animals.
b) This provision was intended to apply to new residential subdivision applications with an exemption for agricultural uses. The County is not proposing to replace existing fencing with this provision.
11. Workforce Housing
a) There is a need to address housing for seasonal and year-round employees which didn’t seem to come across as an option in the code update.
12. Zoning and Subdivision
a) There was a lot of support for the change to average density.
b) There was a mix of support and concern over the overall proposed density changes. Some community members are in support of the down-zone comment and others are concerned about their ability to subdivide their property.
c) Many agricultural operators were concerned about the 35 acre density in the Rural Agriculture zone and recommended leaving it at 20 acres or consider an even number such as 20 or 40 due to historic agricultural divisions that are derivatives of 40.
d) Reducing density by half in the 2.5 acre zone may have disproportionate, localized adverse effects. One owner who specifically bought 6 acres in the 2.5 zone to have 2 lots for his kids would be prohibited from doing so causing a significant economic impact on the owner.
e) Comments received regarding the Foothills zone range indicated that the 10 acre average was too small to preserve habitat while 10 acres was too large to accommodate efficient lot splits.
f) There were several questions about the reasoning behind 35 acres for base density.
g) It was recommended that the thresholds be reviewed in more detail with regards to on-the-ground scenarios.
There were a few minor comments regarding suggested edits to application procedures, lighting, grading and drainage, mineral resources, non-conforming conditions, solar energy systems, temporary structures, and housing affordability.