Lawyers, guns and money: Tale of two proposed subdivisions in Teton County

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Two residential developments in the county are on different trajectories. One, proposed for South Park, appears dead in the water, the other, a repurposing of the Bar J property on Teton Village Road, has heated up again with litigious bustle.

South Parked

Steelhead Partners proposed project in South Park would have gone in on the five parcels highlighted here. (Teton County)

Steelhead Partners ambitious plan to put 206 homes into five contiguous 35-acre parcels in South Park in exchange for preserving open space and viewshed in Spring Gulch was beleaguered from the get-go. Developer David Quinn attempted an end run around an Environmental Assessment in order to get the project in under the sun-setting PRD tool, which allowed for more density. It was a red flag for opponents and neighbors in South Park who vehemently opposed the plan.

County commissioners and planners were challenged by Quinn’s attorney Matt Kim-Miller and the ensuing legal battle appears to have culminated this week in a ruling by 9th District Court Judge Timothy Day, who sided with the county against appeals filed by Steelhead Partners. The result leaves the legal wrangle suspended in District Court and with application filing deadlines come and gone, it seems the development is dead.

“There were not any applications filed by Steelhead. [Nothing] was pursued by Steelhead,” said county deputy attorney Erin Weisman. “At this point I don’t know you will see anything else unless you see a new application.”

Throughout the process Quinn expressed frustration at how difficult it was to try to build any kind of much-needed housing with the red tape facing developers now.

“They’re continually adding more regulations, making it more difficult. It’s become such a complex, arduous, and drawn-out process that I’m not sure anybody can get anything through with any plan,” Quinn said.

Barred J

Another significant development proposal has also met with stiff resistance from neighbors and advocacy groups. Steve Hancock’s proposal to turn the Bar J Chuckwagon property into a residential neighborhood of 69 homes on 21 acres immediately rankled some on Teton Village Road.

A group called Alliance of Route 390 formed and hired attorney Matt Kim-Miller to challenge the county on several fronts including alleging an improper EA study, fuzzy zoning and LDR definitions, and a master plan that is somewhere between amended and abandoned.

Erin Weisman, representing the county, attempted to dismiss earlier appeals last summer by saying Alliance 390, comprised of members mostly living in Willow Brook and Teton Pines, did not meet the definition of affected neighbors since they were not “adjoined property owners” or even “adjacent property owners.”

The latest turn is two more appeals filed by Kim-Miller on behalf of Alliance 390 centering, mainly, on asking the board of county commissioners to dismiss the developer’s environmental analysis. Meanwhile, attorney Jim Lubing has been retained by the applicants seeking to develop the property.

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