Rural plan costs mount
By Kevin Huelsmann, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Date: February 11, 2013
Teton County planners predict they’ll need at least $48,500 and 1,000 hours of staff time to update land-use rules and zoning regulations for rural parts of the county.
Commissioners worried last week that planners “woefully underbudgeted” for the project, which is expected to be the county’s first step in updating land-use regulations to match the land-use plan approved last summer.
“It adds up nicely to the $50,000 we have in our budget for this,” county Commissioner Ben Ellis said. “But it could easily add up to more.”
County planners might need to hire consultants to help complete the project, Ellis said. They should keep that option open, he said.
“If we need to look at spending more money, we need to look at more money,” Ellis said. “And I think this board needs to be ready to do that.”
Planners estimate they’ll need $10,000 to pay an appraiser to evaluate implications of new land-use rules. They said they’ll probably need $20,000 to pay for an expert advisor who could discuss land-use tools, offer advice on writing new regulations and provide planners with the latest research. Legal review could cost $3,500, planners predict. And a facilitator, who would oversee the review process, might cost $15,000.
“It’s difficult at times for staff to facilitate our bosses,” Senior Planner Alex Norton said. “It also allows all five of you to participate.”
During a meeting last week, Norton outlined an eight-month process to update rural zoning regulations and land-use rules in the county to reflect the latest version of the Jackson/Teton County Comprehensive Plan.
The planning document, approved in May, seeks to dissuade property owners from developing land in rural parts of the county. New development should be funneled to existing neighborhoods, it says.
Plans for updating rural zoning rules are part of a strategy to ensure that the new comprehensive plan is put into action through specific rules and regulations.
Over the next few months, planners said, they’ll work on reviewing existing land-use rules, figuring out what needs to change to match the new land-use plan. They’ll host meetings and discuss options with elected officials to determine a menu of potential tools.
Between April and June, planners expect to start collecting data and developing the outline for land-use tools.
They’ll take comments on the data and outlines before they start writing formal regulations, which is expected to take place between June and August.
The final product would come before residents and elected officials in August or September, Norton said.
Norton said each component of the rewriting process has some kind of opportunity for the public to comment.