Update, Jan. 13: The Tetonia City Council meeting and public hearing has been postponed until January 20 due to winter weather and hazardous road conditions.
The City of Tetonia is seeking to rezone the city-owned lot between the Ashton-Tetonia Trail and the Ruby Carson Memorial Park. The lot is home to one of the town's trademark grain elevators, distinctive on the horizon as soon as one enters Teton Valley from the north.
During a preliminary discussion about the property last year, Mayor Gloria Hoopes estimated that the city-owned Linderman grain elevator is over 70 years old, and was likely built before World War II. Local farmers would bring grain to Tetonia to be transported out of the valley by train. In 2004 Bette Linderman, the widow of valley farmer Shayne Linderman, sold the elevator and land to the city for $10. With an aging wood interior, a hole in the roof, and aluminum siding with slight bulges, the building isn't currently usable, but because it's a symbol of Tetonia's agricultural heritage, the city doesn't plan to demolish it.
"These buildings are to the point where, I'd hate to see them collapse because nobody would do anything with them," Hoopes said about the town's grain elevators during the first city council meeting on the topic.
The property is zoned for light industrial, and a rezone to multiple use would increase the development possibilities, especially because it's located at the hub of Tetonia's community space, recreation amenities, and pathway access. The former General Mills elevator west of city hall, as well as one residential parcel, are both candidates for rezone as well.
The Linderman grain elevator has garnered some interest from developers. In May of 2019, architect Paul Neseth presented his vision of a commercial venture in and around the elevator, potentially including a seasonal restaurant, a bandshell, retail, and even some housing.
Former Driggs planner Ashley Koehler is providing contract planning services to the city. According to her staff report, the rezone supports greater compatibility with the residential, park, and civic uses that are adjacent to it. If it were rezoned to multiple use, most projects on the property would still require a conditional use permit, which would be reviewed by both the Tetonia Planning and Zoning Commission and the city council. If Tetonia decides to sell the property, the city would have to get an appraisal and then put the lot out for bids.
P&Z held a public hearing on Nov. 20, 2019, about the rezone, and at that meeting Ron Berry, representing Berry Oil, spoke in opposition of having residential uses next to his business. The P&Z commissioners recommended that the rezone only encompass the property between Leigh and Central Avenue. The Tetonia City Council will hold a public hearing on Monday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. at Tetonia City Hall. Neseth told the Teton Valley News that he plans to attend the meeting and will address any questions about his project if members of the public want to know more.