The planning consultants for Moose Creek Ranch have asked that county planning staff postpone the conditional use permit hearing slated for Aug.13 pending a variety of new studies and considerations for the proposed expansion.
Moose Creek Ranch, the quiet retreat center and wedding venue tucked into the far south eastern corner of Teton County may realize a three-fold increase in capacity as developers submitted a conditional use permit to the county planning and zoning commission.
On Saturday, Aug 10, planners for the project, Y2 Consultants wrote to the Teton County planning department that they wished to flesh out additional studies before considering the proposed CUP. They also said they wanted to reach out to the community in an effort to better communicate the property owner’s intention for the project.
“The Applicant acknowledges the community’s concerns about the proposed development and intends to follow through on its previously stated desire to be a good neighbor in Teton County, Idaho," read the Aug. 10 letter. "The Applicant therefore intends to invite interested community members to one-on-one conversations about the future of Moose Creek Ranch, as well as host an informational gathering of neighbors, community members and elected officials for the purpose of sharing the Applicant’s vision, addressing potential concerns, and openly discussing future development of the Moose Creek Ranch,” read the letter to the planning department which was also sent to the Teton Valley News.
Owned by Love Family Ventures, LLC out of St. George Utah, the application was submitted by Jackson developer Tom Hedges with Consetoga Ranch — Grand Teton, LLC and Y2 Consulants with plans to increase the lodging capacity from 68 units to 207 which would include ski cabins, “glamping sites,” and RV unit accommodations with the commitment of filling these units at an 80 percent lodging rate in the summer and a 35 percent lodging rate in the winter.
In the letter Saturday, Y2 Consultants added that they will pursue five other considerations prior to seeking county approval for the project including a phased development schedule, a traffic study, a natural resource analysis. a waste water management study, and a wetlands delineation update.
In a follow up email to the Teton Valley News, Hedges wrote that a majority of the public comment received ahead of the CUP hearing was not favorable to the development.
"As such, and pursuant to our postponement letter, our goal now is to work with the community and move forward with specific studies in an effort to find a good middle ground," wrote Hedges. "I hope we have a great turn out at our neighborhood meeting, which we will likely host sometime in September after receipt of study results. We will then deliver a new proposal with a far more limited added capacity and with a “phased approach” to allow for a trial period."
The planning department received 51 written comments as of the deadline last Tuesday at 5 p.m.
In a newsletter sent ahead of the public hearing earlier this month, Valley Advocates for Responsible Development cautioned the size and scope of the development writing, “VARD supports recreational-lodging uses in the rural county as an economic development tool…we believe that recreational-lodging uses must be developed at a scale and intensity as the surrounding county. 207 guests on 20 acres is a bit difficult for us to swallow, and we believe the existing guest capacity and physical footprint of Moose Creek Ranch is ample.”
The nonprofit development watch dog group encouraged the planning commission to consider a ground water study for waste-water impacts and a traffic study given the anticipated increase in use at the ranch.
The developer plans to be available to the county planning and zoning commission during the scheduled public hearing slot on Aug. 13 at 5 p.m. for additional questions, but will postpone the application until further notice.
The conditional use application that is available online at www.tetoncountyidaho.gov.