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Court allows construction staging site

October 2, 2017 GMT

The Wyoming Supreme Court has settled a dispute over a 16-year-old construction staging site, affirming that the site is an allowed “temporary use.”

Teton Village landowners Four Shadows LLC own a 2.72-acre site in Granite Ridge. Since 2001, Four Shadows has leased the site to contractors working in the Village as a construction staging area.

The Teton County Board of County Commissioners approved a temporary basic use permit for the site that expires every two years and requires county renewal. The board placed condition s on the permit, including limits on construction activity at the site and work hours.

In 2015, neighbors complained about the continued use of the construction staging area. Chris and Claire Tayback purchased their home overlooking the site in 2010. They filed suit against Teton County after the board approved the permit in 2016.

The Taybacks’ attorney, Mark Sullivan, argued the site’s use isn’t “temporary” as it has been in place for 16 years and is expected to see continued use as Teton Village Area 2 builds out over the next decade or two.

“The reality is that it is the stated intention of the applicant to use this site throughout what’s called ‘buildout,’ ” Sullivan argued in district court in 2016. “The application … makes it very clear this is not intended to go on for just two years.”

Sullivan also said the board should have required Four Shadows to look into alternate site options.

Ninth District Court Judge Timothy Day affirmed the county’s decision to allow the permit in December 2016. The Taybacks then appealed to the Wyoming Supreme Court, which issued its decision Sept. 28.

Justice Keith G. Kautz ruled that the two-year permit does fit the county’s definition of “temporary” as outlined in the land regs: “a use established for a fixed period of time.”

“When the permit expires, Four Shadows’ right to use the site will no longer be established,” Kautz wrote. “The fact that Four Shadows may, or is even likely to, apply for a new permit when the current one expires is irrelevant to whether the Board properly granted this BUP for temporary use.

“The regulations do not restrict the number of times temporary use for construction storage/staging may be permitted at a given site,” the opinion continued. Kautz also noted that the land regulations do not require the board to ask for consideration of possible alternative sites.

Deputy Teton County Attorney Erin Weisman handled the case for the board of commissioners and was pleased with its outcome.

“It affirms the board’s decision,” Weisman said. “They did the right thing, they followed the master plan, they followed their LDRs.”

Also important, Weisman said, is that the court found the Taybacks have “standing” to appeal, because their property overlooks the staging area and is close to it, even though it is not directly adjacent. Weisman said that sets a precedent for future land-use disputes between neighbors.

The current two-year permit for the site expires in January 2018.