Coronavirus has made all of us intimately familiar with uncertainty. We’re coping with protecting the safety and well-being of our community, the loss of some of our favorite places to gather and play, and the unknown of the months ahead.
So now more than ever is the time to ground ourselves in our core values and look with hope to the opportunities of the future.
In times of prosperity and of hardship, comprehensive plans provide a unified vision and road map to our future, while land development regulations implement that vision. In Jackson and Teton County, our joint Comprehensive Plan vision is to “preserve and protect the area’s ecosystem in order to ensure a healthy environment, community and economy for current and future generations.” That’s an amazing vision, and one we’re proud of.
Community planning is, and has always been, a fundamental response to uncertainty.
During the past year, the planning department has engaged our community in the Comp Plan’s “Growth Management Program” (GMP). The GMP was triggered by more than 5% growth since adopting the Comp Plan in 2012. It allows us to revisit what we want our community to look and feel like in the future, and whether our current strategies are getting us where we want to be. Essentially, the GMP allows us to update our Comprehensive Plan – opening Pandora’s Box and allowing changes for the better or the worse.
Following an extensive outreach process, the Town Council and Board of County Commissioners met in December to hear ideas from the community and planning staff, and they provided guidance on changes to move forward with. The planning department has now released a draft updated Comp Plan with changes that the Town Council and the Board of County Commissioners will consider for adoption. One area already drawing attention is a proposal to change the plan for Northern South Park – more on that later.
Any proposed changes will be lasting, with ripple effects throughout our community, from housing to transportation and conservation. Our community likely won’t revisit our Comprehensive Plan again for many years, so it’s important to make sure that we get it right.
Stay tuned for our analysis of the new draft in a later post, mark your calendars for the first public meeting on this topic (maybe online) on May 4, and get in touch with me to get involved: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Planning Manager