Teton Raptor Center administrators are putting expansion and renovation plans on hold to review options for a neighboring property, which recently was bought by a “conservation buyer.”
Board members and staff of the education and rehabilitation center for birds of prey sent out a message to supporters earlier last week about the delay. They asked county planners to delay their application for a maximum of 60 days, board member Rich Bloom said Thursday.
“We need to take a little time now to explore the additional opportunities that may be possible in collaboration with the new owner,” Raptor Center officials wrote in the email circulated last week. “We hope to create a vision that complements both properties and heightens the overall community benefit.”
The neighboring property had been owned by the center’s “wonderful and much-missed neighbor” A.A. “Sandy” Zvegintzov, who died in October.
Raptor Center officials declined to identify the new owner. Bloom said the person is not associated with the center or its board.
Land records filed with the county clerk’s office show there was a warranty deed transferred to Green Investors LLC in February. State records list Robbin Nelson as the manager of the company.
“This pause is prompted by an exciting new development,” Raptor Center officials said in the email, “one that opens up new possibilities for the Hardeman Ranch.”
The center’s plans to add two buildings and renovate historic structures on the property already had made it through county planning staff reviews. Before announcing the delay, center representatives were poised to go before the county planning commission.
The center has not formally withdrawn its application, which means it could pick it up again if talks with the new property owner don’t go anywhere.
The Jackson Hole Land Trust owns the 26.8-acre Hardeman Ranch in Wilson. It leases two buildings — an old horse barn and a former machine shed — to the raptor center.
The center’s proposed project is intended to provide more access to the historic structures and provide more room for raptors that are cared for at the facility.
Initial plans called for a phased approach that could begin as soon as next summer.
The first phase consists of turning the existing raptor barn into a single-purpose classroom area. It now serves as an education center, clinic and holding area for the raptors.
The Raptor Center would build a new, 3,200-square-foot barn to serve as a hospital and holding area for injured raptors.
In subsequent years, crews would expand the existing bunkhouse, build a new storage shed, install an interpretative walking trail, relocate some parking, and restore the main barn, pump house and horse barn.
Under existing plans, construction would extend through 2015.