Northern South Park Update as of 2/14/2024
The Board of County Commissioners will be meeting to discuss Northern South Park on February 20th but WILL NOT be accepting public comment until February 27th.
Your voice COUNTS! Please join us for pastries and public comment on February 27th at the Alliance office before heading as a group to give public comment.
Where We Stand
We commend the effort that has gone into the Neighborhood Plan for NSP and appreciate the chance to review the amendment to ensure the proposal fully implements not only the Neighborhood Plan but also the Comprehensive Plan.
This is a significantly large development with the opportunity to both improve Quality of Life by providing a variety of housing types in a complete neighborhood while also implementing the Comprehensive Plan’s Growth Management principles. Unfortunately, the opportunity to fully implement our Comprehensive Plan’s Ecosystem Stewardship Value in the draft LDRs has been dismissed.
The Conservation Alliance is concerned with the lack of ecosystem stewardship reflected in the draft LDR. It has become apparent that our community’s past development patterns have not always benefited wildlife and natural resource protection and have oftentimes been a detriment (moose trapped in Cottonwood neighborhood fences, ice dams on Flat Creek resulting in flooded neighborhoods, septic systems leaking into groundwater, wildlife vehicle collisions on mule deer travel routes off high school butte and across South Park Road).
Many of these human/wildlife conflicts can be overcome in the planning process. The development of Northern South Park provides the opportunity to fully implement our community’s vision and develop in a way that not only provides the much needed housing but also allows for the free and easy movement of wildlife and protection of our natural resources, specifically water quality and the Flat Creek riparian corridor.
Affordable/Workforce Housing and Community Character
While the JH Conservation Alliance is concerned with the potential negative impacts on wildlife and natural resources resulting from this high density residential development, we understand the need and importance for housing in our community, especially for affordable and workforce housing. We support the efforts of all involved to provide a variety of housing types in NSP. However, we urge the planning commission to ensure the implementation of a complete neighborhood that fully integrates deed restricted housing with market housing among one another. In addition, the construction and availability of the deed restricted housing should not be out paced by market rate housing. One method of ensuring compliance with this type of timing could be controlled through building permit issuance.
Although Northern South Park has been presented by Planning Staff as an urban environment, we are in Jackson Hole, the wildlife is here, and it will be in the Northern South Park neighborhood as well. Instead of keeping wildlife out, this neighborhood should be designed to be permeable for wildlife movement (especially at night).
We would like to see the following considerations for fencing in Northern South Park:
- Lot perimeter fencing shall be prohibited.
- Pet enclosure fencing shall be impenetrable for the pet including visually as to not promote barking at wildlife.
- Pet enclosures shall not enclose the entire yard and shall be limited to dog run sized.
- NSP 1 and 2 – generally prohibit fencing. Provide allowance for shared dog runs and special purpose fencing such as fencing around trash containers.
- Prohibit fencing along the shared boundary of open spaces and the Flat Creek setback.
Configuration of Open Spaces
Allow for a wildlife permeable neighborhood by requiring and ensuring that the open spaces and the process outlined in the draft LDR will allow for contiguous, linear shaped open spaces throughout the entire neighborhood that help facilitate wildlife permeability (good examples of north-south linear open space in western section of Melody Ranch).
Flat Creek Setback
Flat Creek runs through both the Rafter J and Melody Ranch neighborhoods where significant creek setbacks have been provided allowing wildlife to easily pass through the development. The width of these undeveloped areas vary but are generally 150 – 650 feet wide. Duplicating this template at Northern South Park would be ideal. The JHCA would like to see a requirement of an HOA owned or neighborhood common area along Flat Creek with an ample (minimum 150-foot) setback from the creek considered. It should be required that the established setback/common area will maintain native, unmowed vegetation. That being said, given the topography (very flat) and the density of the neighborhood, the wider the setback the higher the likelihood of protecting the water quality of Flat Creek.