Review of park plans delayed until August
By Kevin Huelsmann, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
July 30, 2012
A proposal to change several Teton County land-use rules to allow for a new park on the west bank of the Snake River was dropped from a planning commission meeting July 23.
Planning Director Jeff Daugherty said the issue, which would rezone the riverfront property and change some land-use rules to allow plans for the park to move forward, is slated to come before the recommending body Aug. 13.
Daugherty said the issue was delayed to allow planners more time to ready a presentation for planning commissioners. The report prepared for the July 23 meeting is available at www.tetonwyo.org.
Members of the Rendezvous Lands Conservancy, an amalgamation of the LOR Foundation and the Jackson Hole Land Trust, are supposed to come before planning commissioners to ask for two changes to county land-use rules.
One would rezone the 40-acre parcel they purchased on the banks of the Snake, opposite the Stilson Ranch parking lot. The existing zoning for the property does not allow the group to build a park there.
The other change requested would allow not-for-profit organizations to own land located in the park and open space zoning district. Additionally, park planners are asking that they be allowed to build a detached, single-family home for a caretaker.
In a report prepared for the commissioners’ meeting, county planning staff recommended the two requests be approved.
Daugherty said county legal staffers asked that the item be delayed so the two requests could be split apart. The report prepared for planning commissioners this week combined both items.
Even if the two requests are approved, park planners will have to submit development plans for the site. Those plans will also have to go through the planning commission and county commission.
The proposal has drawn criticism from west bank property owners over the last several months.
Several residents have raised concerns about the park’s possible effects on wildlife in the area. Other concerns involve human activity on the site, increased traffic and dogs on the property. Critics also have questioned whether the new park contradicts the new land-use plan elected officials adopted in May.
Planning staffers said the plans for the park fit with the comprehensive plan because they seek to reduce the amount of residential development allowed at the site.
They declined to analyze park plans against the land-use plan further, saying a more detailed review would come when specific plans were up for approval.
Park planners have said they have tried to address concerns about the site. They worked with wildlife biologists to ensure they would disturb as little wildlife habitat as possible. They said they will probably limit where dogs are allowed at the site and impose seasonal closures. And they said they are trying to move parking off the site and minimize the need for any new roads.
The park planners have hosted numerous public meetings and open houses to solicit input and to show off conceptual plans for the park as they developed.