On Monday, June 6 Town Councilors, County Commissioners, and consultants met to discuss the Northern South Park Neighborhood Plan. The councilors and commissioners continued to seek more details about the neighborhood plan and discussed some recent developments.
One of the most notable developments was the Lockhart family’s announcement that they will likely not opt-in to the current plan (see the Lockharts’ public comment here Page 97-98). Without buy-in from the Lockharts, only half of the housing from the neighborhood plan would be constructed. That’s a loss of more than 600 housing units.
Minimizing the number of new jobs created
With the construction of homes come new jobs for the community. The consultants estimate that 21% of deed-restricted homes built in this development would house workers whose jobs were created through the building of market-rate homes in Northern South Park. They made the assumption these market-rate homes would all be single-family units. The number of deed-restricted units occupied by the workforce of these newly created jobs could be as low as 70 units if there was a mix of multi-family homes and single-family homes, and as high as 180 if all market-rate units are single-family. The consultants also mentioned that a lower percentage of market-rate homes in the plan means fewer jobs created.
Pressure on schools
It is not news that Teton County schools are at capacity. The Northern South Park development aims to provide housing for local workers, including teachers. However, the NSP development would add up to 659 to 988 new students to the already crowded school system. The school superintendent asked for a more comprehensive analysis of the impacts the additional students would create.
The team of consultants also analyzed the potential increase in traffic resulting from the development of the neighborhood plan and determined that roadway capacity is sufficient to handle the increase in vehicle traffic from this development. They looked at the number of personal vehicle trips generated by each new household in the plan. That data was then analyzed in conjunction with all anticipated growth in the county. The high-level analysis showed that the existing roadway network has sufficient capacity to handle the new traffic, a finding that we find very hard to believe. Furthermore, an operational plan, which would set guidelines for optimizing the existing roadway, was not proposed by the consultants.
Ideally, this plan would include a wildlife corridor at the southern end of the subarea. This is a crucial route for elk, deer, and other wildlife. This area along highway 89 is a “hot spot” for wildlife-vehicle collisions in Teton County. Incorporating a greenbelt at the southern end of the property would allow for safer movement for wildlife from Josie’s Ridge and Leeks Canyon to critical habitats along the Snake River.
- Do you believe that more transportation analysis should be done in order to mitigate traffic?
- What can be done to mitigate the impacts on Teton County schools?
- Does this development generate too many new workers?
- Should more be done to provide space for wildlife movement?
June 21st-Town Council makes their recommendation
July 5th – Board of County Commissioners vote on adopting the Neighborhood Plan.
July 19th -If the neighborhood plan is adopted, landowners can opt-in to the neighborhood plan and the county will designate zoning for the subarea.