On our recent family Spring Break road trip to Denver, Fort Worth, the Grand Canyon, and southern Utah, I had over 3,000 miles behind the wheel to step back and think about why I do this work. The answers sat a few feet behind me watching movies and endlessly snacking away.
I do this work to create a better world for my children, Piper and Ryder, and for all future generations. The decisions we make today will shape their future.
With this in mind, both the Alliance and I have relatively simple principles for weighing the merits of proposed public policies and investments. Principles directly aligned with the shared values, vision, and goals of our community. In regards to changes in our land use rules, we ask if the proposed action will help us:
- Create walkable neighborhoods surrounded by protected open space, working agricultural lands, and connected wildlife habitat;
- Stay a strong community where at least two-thirds of our diverse workforce can affordably rent or purchase a safe and healthy home that meets their family’s needs;
- Provide people with the freedom to safely and conveniently get where they need to go on foot, bike, or transit;
- Preserve the natural capital that provides the foundation for sustainable, long-term prosperity; and
- Become a national model of living in balance with nature.
Fortunately, because of hundreds of letters and public comments from people like you on the proposed updates to the District 2 (Downtown) land development regulations (LDRs), they are getting closer to aligning with the vision and values of our community.
Our elected representatives have not only taken a few steps in the right direction – such as a two-tiered zoning system that could incentivize housing for people who work here, trimming the lodging overlay, and significantly scaling back commercial development potential – they are actively considering innovative, constructive, and balanced policy solutions that could make the proposed land use rules for Downtown even better.
Here’s the thing, it’s hard for our elected representatives to ignore the loud voices of a few people who stand to individually benefit from proposed zoning changes.
They need to hear from all of us that we expect them to stand strong and make decisions in the best long-term interests of our community.
Thank you for everything you do,
Craig M. Benjamin
Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance