The Alliance and community members question a rural subdivision and transfer of development rights on Phillips Ridge
On Tuesday, October 4, the Teton County Board of Commissioners (BOCC) will contemplate two applications submitted by LF&F LLC regarding “One Wild Life Ranch.” The first is an application to request increased density, with the intent to use the Rural Planned Residential Development (PRD) provisions of the Teton County Land Development Regulations (LDRs) to construct a rural subdivision on Phillips Ridge. The second is an application to create a new easement via the Teton County Scenic Preserve Trust. In a September 26 letter to the BOCC, the Alliance urged them to deny both applications.
An important part of this proposal is the fact that the parcel is on very steep slopes. The 49-acre conservation area the owners propose to put a conservation easement on, in exchange for increased density, is virtually all on 30-degree slopes. Since the LDRs prohibit development on slopes in excess of 30%, the owner does not have any rights to develop that land. As the Alliance stated in our letter to the BOCC, “the owner is providing nothing – no relinquishment of existing rights, no public benefit – in exchange for the density bonus it seeks, and thus is not entitled to a Rural PRD.”
Additionally, a significant portion of the One Wild Life Ranch parcel is within the Natural Resources Overlay (NRO), meant to identify and protect the most important and sensitive natural areas of the county that provide critical wildlife habitat. The owners are claiming the impacts to wildlife are unavoidable due to the topography of the area. The LDR exception for unavoidable wildlife impacts applies only where density cannot be located outside of the NRO, but no density beyond a single home has been, or should be, permitted in this case.
Finally, we urged the BOCC to deny the application for a conservation easement via the Teton County Scenic Preserve Trust, as it would increase density without eliminating any viable development rights. One Wild Life Ranch’s proposed subdivision is contrary to the stated purpose of the Trust to “promote protection and stewardship of open space, including scenic and wildlife resources.” Development on this parcel has already impacted crucial moose habitat and will further endanger moose if approved.
The choice as we see it is for commissioners to “either protect the values set forth in the Teton County Comprehensive Plan by denying a proposal that violates the language and intent of the Land Development Regulations (LDRs) or undermine the Comprehensive Plan goals by opening the door to subdivisions throughout rural Teton County, to the permanent detriment of the wildlife and wild places that make our community special.”
See the Alliance’s full letter to the BOCC here. The deadline has passed for letters to be submitted to the commission, put please attend the Board of County Commissioners meeting on Monday, October 4 at 9am – it is important that they hear from the community that we do not wish to set dangerous precedent for unchecked development in rural areas.
Monday, October 4 at 9:00AM
Board of County Commissioners Meeting info:
Tuesday, October 4, 2022 at 9:00AM
Commissioners Chambers – 200 S. Willow
To make public comment virtually
Dial 1.669.900.6833 Webinar ID: 847 8092 1548 OR
Link to join webinar: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84780921548
Video streaming link (no participation): https://tetoncountywy.gov/1185/Meeting-Video