Teton County Community Planning Wins APA Award

The American Planning Association recently awarded the Teton County Comprehensive Plan the Idaho Public Outreach Award.  The plan was completed by a team including LSD and Harmony Design & Engineering.

Teton County is an undiscovered gem on the western slope of the Teton Range with breathtaking mountain views, pristine resources, a friendly community and world class outdoor recreation opportunities.  From 2000 to 2010, Teton County was one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation. However, under the previous, controversial comprehensive plan the County experienced its largest-ever development boom/bust cycle, resulting in inefficient, fiscally irresponsible and unsustainable development patterns.

Initiated in 2011, this comprehensive plan process emphasized the opportunity to outline a new direction for the County based on lessons learned from the past and from other western communities.  This process represented western, grassroots planning at its best; resulting in a landscape-based approach to development levels and incentives and an implementation framework aimed at creating actionable change and an economically resilient County.  Central to the success of the comprehensive plan was its grassroots public outreach, used a “bottom-up” approach, involving citizen committees made up of over 80 dedicated volunteers representing the breadth of community values.  In addition to the citizen committees, engagement efforts included public workshops; open houses; stakeholder interviews; a mobile “plan van”; online surveys; events; landowner workshops; newspaper articles; and a dedicated website.  Through these efforts, more than 4,000 comments were received, with a significant portion of the County’s 10,000 residents participating.  In August 2012, the plan was unanimously adopted by the Board of County Commissioners.