What’s the best way to write land use rules that encourage more permanent protection of open space, working agricultural lands, and wildlife habitat? Ask the people who know how to get it done.
That’s why the Alliance worked collaboratively with an “informal working group” of conservation non-profits, planning consultants, property owners with extensive experience implementing conservation easements, and land development regulation experts to develop and agree on recommendations that would encourage conservation easements through improvements to the draft rural land development regulations (LDRs).
These recommendations had a singular focus: to encourage our valley’s landowning families to permanently protect open space. They offered simple improvements that will make our LDRs more conservation easement friendly and encourage, rather than discourage, the personal decisions of families in our valley to enter into conservation easements on their lands.
Thankfully, your Board of Teton County Commissioners directed planning staff to incorporate nearly all of these conservation-encouraging improvements into the final draft of the Rural LDRs.
Through a thoughtful and methodical process, our elected representatives are very close to adopting Rural LDRs that will advance our community’s vision of walkable neighborhoods surrounded by protected open space, working agricultural lands, and connected wildlife habitat.
Here’s the thing, we all know the devil’s in the details, and the Rural LDRs still need a few final tweaks to make sure they effectively work toward our community’s shared vision of a better future and don’t take us in the wrong direction on two important issues.
There are three important improvements that would help get the Rural LDRs right.
First, it’s important the final Rural LDRs incorporate the final set of revisions articulated in the Conservation Easement Enhancement Redline. Submitted on behalf of the “informal working group” mentioned above, these revisions are critical to ensuring the Rural LDRs encourage the permanent protection of open space. It’s also critical the Rural LDRs incorporate the technical changes recommended by the Jackson Hole Land Trust regarding Section 7.3. Details matter, a lot.
Second, the almost final draft Rural LDRs include two small changes that would make a big difference. These changes would eliminate the current robust public review process in zoning decisions when public lands are transferred to private ownership, and when Planned Resort Master Plans expire, are revoked or abandoned. There is no community benefit, policy justification, or Comprehensive Plan direction for either of these proposed changes. In fact, there hasn’t been any public conversation about either of these proposed changes, so we have no idea why they are even being considered. All we know is that we should be striving for more public involvement on both of these issues, and these proposed changes would take us in the wrong direction.
Thank you for speaking up for conservation and public participation.