Driggs & Victor Land Development Codes receive regional accolades

Press release 9/22/2017, updated October 2017

In September 2017 in Spearfish, South Dakota, the Land Development Codes for the cities of Driggs and Victor were awarded the Rural Innovation award from The Western Planner. The Western Planner offers this annual award to highlight the efforts made in small towns that make use of innovative planning techniques and achieve outcomes that advance sound planning. Award recipients were required to demonstrate a major accomplishment that has a continuing impact and its significance to rural planning.

Also in October 2017 the Code received recognition from the Idaho Chapter of the American Planning Association with the 2017 Planning Tool & Implementation Award. 

Driggs Planning & Zoning Administrator, Ashley Koehler, was eager to apply for the awards in an effort to share the story of municipal collaboration and innovation surrounding the cities’ new Land Development Codes. The regulations within the Codes are a result of a decade long commitment from the cities to smart growth principles and proof of what successful collaboration looks like between planning staff in rural communities. Koehler believes and The Western Planner and Idaho APA agreed that the Driggs and Victor Codes are examples for what a high-quality zoning and subdivision code look like. One of the project goals was for the Code to be easy for the public to understand and apply on their own; to accomplish this, the Codes use common language and less “legalese.” In addition, the Code is full of simple graphics that assist in the interpretation of everything from setbacks to lot measurements to landscaping requirements. The resulting Codes offer intriguing solutions to our cities’ issues, including increased options for infill housing, new mixed-use zones, a new sign code, and dark-sky friendly lighting regulations all in a hybrid form-based code format. One of the biggest impacts that the cities hope to provide is a similar code for both jurisdictions so that realtors, business owners, builders, surveyors, developers and property owners that do business in both places do not have to learn two different code formats, zone names, or definitions.

In applying the Codes over the last year plus, the cities admit that tweaks and edits have been and are still necessary. The City of Driggs Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council completed a 6-month review in June 2017 and ended up adopting several changes including regulations that responded to public comments of concern.

The Codes are available on the cities respective websites: www.driggsidaho.org/land-development-code and www.victorcityidaho.com