Teton County is currently engaged in a major Land Development Code (LDC) rewriting project. The Board of County Commissioners has undertaken this effort because the county’s LDC is supposed to reflect and help accomplish the goals of our adopted Comprehensive Plan. Teton County’s most recent Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 2012, while the county’s current Land Development Code was written in stages between the late 1970s and the mid-1990s. Since Idaho Statute directs that local LDC’s be “in accordance” with policies set forth in an adopted Comprehensive Plan, Teton County is moving forward to fulfill a promise made to its citizens over seven years ago.
Our current Zoning Map identifies basically two zones in the unincorporated parts of the county—A-20 and A/RR 2.5. These zones, which only vaguely reflect actual land use patterns, impact both how land may be divided (the number represents the minimum lot size) and how lands in each area may be used. In contrast, the Comprehensive Plan’s Framework Map, or Future Land Use Map, identifies six zones which have been delineated according to actual topography and existing settlement patterns. These include Rural Agriculture, Rural Neighborhood, Foothills, Mixed Ag/Rural Neighborhood, Mixed Ag/Wetland, and Industrial/Research. The Comprehensive Plan also calls for changes in how lands may be divided in each zone, as well as new designations for how lands may be used in each zone.
Per Idaho Statute, the county has committed to rewrite the LDC to revise all land use zones and subdivision directions so they reflect the goals called out in the adopted Comprehensive Plan. The project therefore includes developing a new zoning map, creating new zoning definitions to match the Comp Plan’s character zones, determining appropriate densities for future land divisions within each zone, and settling on suitable land uses throughout the county by developing a new Land Use Table that supports the Comprehensive Plan.
Writing a new LDC is a technical process that requires specialized planning and legal skills. The desired end product must be a legally defensible set of regulations and policies that are clear and easy to understand. To accomplish this result, Teton County invited qualified consulting firms to submit proposals to complete the project. In the spring of 2019, Logan Simpson was selected as the consultant. Through their Salt Lake and Ft. Collins offices, the firm possesses the code writing expertise to complete the technical aspects of writing our new LDC, under the close and clear direction of Teton County.
The county has chosen to utilize a Steering Committee to direct the majority of Logan Simpson’s work to complete a Draft LDC. The Steering Committee is comprised of County Commissioner Bob Heneage, P&Z Chairman Chris Larson, P&Z Vice Chair Sarah Johnston, Former P&Z Chair Cleve Booker, Planning Administrator Gary Armstrong and Senior Planner Joshua Chase. The Steering Committee is also utilizing other county staff and departments as necessary (GIS, Building, Prosecutor, Public Works, etc.). The Steering Committee meets twice each month and provides direction to the consultant on all products and reviews all project deliverables.
As draft documents are developed, they will be made available to the public on the county’s website. A first draft of the code should be ready to review by the end of January. Public comments will be taken through the county website as well as through a series of public open houses. Revisions to the draft will be made by the consultant, based on feedback from the public. In early spring, the P&Z Commission will review the updated draft, hold a public hearing, and make final changes to the draft before forwarding it to the Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) with a recommendation for approval or denial. The BoCC will hold a public hearing prior to adopting the proposed LDC, which will be determined by a vote of the BoCC. The county hopes to have the process finalized by mid-summer.