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Land-use rules on track

By Kevin Huelsmann, Jackson Hole Daily
December 03, 2012

Teton County’s wide, rural swaths of land could be protected by new development rules as soon as next summer.

During a meeting last week, Teton County planners outlined a proposed schedule to update rural zoning regulations and the planned residential development tool. The tool would allow landowners with large tracts to develop denser projects if they set aside a certain amount of open space.

“Let’s try it,” County Commission Chairman Ben Ellis said. “If there are challenges with it, as I’m sure there will be, we’ll tweak it or change it as we go.”

How county commissioners decide to manage the rural parts of the valley is one of the most crucial — and potentially controversial — pieces of the new comprehensive plan. The planning document aims to steer new development away from those areas. It calls for most new homes and buildings to be built in already developed areas, mainly in town.

County commissioners will be working on rules to make that change as town councilors and planners find ways to ac-commodate denser development.

For rural parts of the valley, county commissioners are expected to review zoning regulations, tools to cluster development and methods to protect open space, planners said last week.

Town and county officials said they want to rewrite existing land-use regulations in small chunks. Planning staff from the town and the county will manage the process, but consultants could also be hired to work on the update.

The schedule presented to commissioners last week calls for planners to review the existing land-use rules through March. By April, they expect to have options to present to county leaders.

Planners hope to start writing the new rules in May, which means the guidelines would be ready for commissioners’ review in June.

In addition to setting their sights on new land-use rules, town and county officials are working to complete a new affordable housing study, finish vegetation maps and create a transportation plan.

If all goes according to plan after a still-to-be-defined public review process, the new regulations could be in place early next summer, planners said.

 

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