Planning Commission delays approving regulation draft to send to County Commissioners for a second time, refines language and outlines details of enforcement and implementation instead.
The Planning Commission first met on December 13 to discuss the amended version of Section 5.1.3: Wild Animal Feeding and Bear Conflict Area Standards, of the Teton County Land Development Regulations, but after technical difficulties and running out of time they postponed the discussion to their December 27 meeting.
On December 27 the meeting was executed as planned and commissioners heard the full presentation by planning staff, as well as additional public comments, before spending the remaining time discussing details of the amended section. Throughout the public process the Planning Commission and staff have received over 60 public comments from community members, overwhelmingly in favor of adopting the amended version, which would require bear proof trash cans countywide and limit other forms of wildlife attractants at residential areas. Despite almost unanimous agreement that Teton County needs to adopt an updated version of our wildlife feeding regulations to better mitigate conflicts between wildlife and humans, the Planning Commission decided to postpone a vote on the amended version presented by planning staff again and spend more time working out the issues.
The Alliance supports approving the revised version of Section 5.1.3 as soon as possible. However, we also understand there is complexity to requiring these updated regulations. Proper enforcement is needed to ensure compliance with the new regulation language, as well as funding mechanisms for private trash haulers and residents to afford this transition. Check out this joint letter we submitted that discusses three main components of implementation that need to be addressed: enforcement, financing, and public education.
Planning Commissioners had asked for a workshop between Dec 27 and their next meeting, January 24, to meet with local, regional, and topic experts from communities who have successfully implemented wildlife feeding regulations and bear-proof trash cans to discuss the complexities of this issue and how to get it right. Although the workshop has been cancelled, experts have been asked to join the January 24 meeting. We are confident that with proper planning and an implementation strategy, these regulations can be adopted with benefit and assistance to all. The Alliance will be working with our nonprofit partners and planning staff and commissioners through the January 24 vote to strengthen the efficacy of these regulations and encourage a smooth transition.
Once the Land Development Regulations are approved, the Alliance and our partners are committed to working with the County on developing an education and outreach strategy to ensure compliance, safety, and a smooth roll-out of the new regulations. Sign up for updates on this campaign here! For more details on how the meeting went, see the News and Guide article here.