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Hearing officer assigned for Classical Academy appeal

October 31, 2018 GMT

County commissioners designated a hearing officer Monday to preside over South Park neighbors’ appeal of an environmental analysis, a document foundational to the Jackson Hole Classical Academy’s proposal to develop a new school.

Attorney Melissa Owens, who the county recently requested serve as hearing officer on all its matters, will preside over the appeal. That means she will help the Teton County Board of County Commissioners handle the appeal as an impartial third party.

An environmental study is a required step in the Classical Academy’s plan to build a new school in South Park.

Filed Oct. 2 against the Teton County planning director, the appeal claims planners approved an “inaccurate, incomplete and insufficient” environmental study in a manner “erroneous and contrary to law.”

South Park residents Rich Bloom, Deborah Black and Greg Mattiko are named as individual appellants, along with Friends of South Park, a neighborhood advocacy group. They’re represented by attorney Andy Salter.

“The remedy we’re seeking is asking the county commissioners to order the applicant to prepare a complete, accurate and informative environmental analysis,” Salter said. “There are some fundamental issues they just did not address.”

The appeal’s filing triggered an automatic freeze on the plan’s progress.

However, Classical Academy applications seeking adjustments to rural zone regulations (maximum building size and hours of operation) will proceed to review by the county commissioners.

A hearing on the appeal must be conducted by the Board of County Commissioners by Jan. 30.