ALTA, Wyo. — Grand Targhee was issued a development permit by the Teton County Board of County Commissioners in a 3-2 vote May 16 to build 22 short-term rental cabins near the base of the mountain, to be sold at market value. Chair Luther Propst and Commissioner Mark Newcomb voted against the development plan.
This is the first development permit issued to the resort and is a part of the resort’s larger expansion project outlined in its 2018 Master Plan. Targhee will need to be issued building permits before construction can begin.
The over four-hour meeting centered around the discussion of the development plan and an administrative adjustment to allow three cabins to be built on slopes up to 36%. The administrative adjustment was approved unanimously.
The development plan approval was accompanied by 10 conditions; one was added during the meeting by the board, related to the wildland fire interface, and three other conditions were changed by county staff since the April 18 meeting.
One condition that was changed relates to a road impact fee for the section of Ski Hill Road from the state line to Targhee. According to the plan, the fee will be calculated by using an agreed-upon formula created by Targhee and the Teton County Engineer and will be applied to future development projects.
Targhee’s Owner and General Manager Geordie Gillett spoke at the meeting and addressed the issues he has had with the Teton County Idaho Board of County Commissioners, but offered to apply the road impact formula to the sections of Idaho roads that will be impacted.
“I don’t appreciate the way Teton County, Idaho, has approached their interaction with me or this Board but there is absolutely an impact to the road in Idaho related to construction traffic,” Gillett said.
“This is completely voluntary. This is a one-time offer meaning, I’m not setting a precedent that this is something we are going to do every time,” Gillett said. “My hope is that the two counties will begin a constructive dialogue in the meantime before the next development application comes along.”
During public comment, a number of people shared their opinions about the development plan, including Cindy Riegel, chair of the Teton County Idaho Board of County Commission.
“These new conditions of approval are convoluting and confusing and to receive during the meeting does not benefit the public or the decision makers,” Riegel said.
Jade Krueger, a planning administrator in Teton County, Idaho said the project was “a great example of how we can collaborate as a region.”
“As a professional planner, it has been challenging to track this project, but what’s more challenging is we are making it nearly impossible for the public following along to participate and understand what we are looking at,” Krueger said.
Dave Sollit, executive director of Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, said, “We don’t object to the concept of the development, only the execution.”
Sollit suggested that the cabins could be moved farther down the hill, avoiding any need for a greater than 30% adjustment. It would also increase the wildland fire mitigation zone.
According to the site layout plan, the 22 cabins each have a 10-foot setback at the property lines. The commissioners opted to add a condition that addressed concerns about wildland fire prevention. The tenth condition states that no construction shall occur until an assessment and fire management plan are submitted and approved by the Jackson Hole Fire/EMS Chief.
Jackson Hole Fire/EMS Chief Stephen Jellie answered questions from the Board about the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Code and clarified that the code is based on ten or so factors that work as levers.
“It’s not a black-and-white code as some people have tried to depict today,” Jellie said. The WUI code has an enormous amount of flexibility.”
Editor’s Note: Additional coverage on the housing mitigation aspect of the project will be published tomorrow, May 19.