The Conservation Alliance asked our candidates for town council, county commission, districts, and TCD the following questions regarding our wildlife, wild places, and community character. All responses are reprinted here as submitted by candidates, without any editing.
Jump directly to an issue: preserving & protecting our ecosystem | wildlife collisions and crossings | workforce housing | community growth | Snow King master plan | Natural Resource regulations | transportation | American public lands.
** – Indicates primary only candidate
Please introduce yourself.
- Don Frank: Donald Frank Town Council Member and Concerned Citizen
- Arne Jorgensen: I am a Jackson native and an Architect and have worked in Jackson since 1989 which gives me a unique outlook on the opportunities and challenges facing our community. I have also served on multiple public and non-profit boards including the JH Community Housing Trust as a founding board and current emeritus member; the Wyoming Community Foundation as a board member for over 20 years and currently as an emeritus board member; the Wyoming Board of Architects and Landscape Architects as a Governor-appointed member; as well as multiple committees of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. Each of these experiences have prepared me to be a highly effective member of the Council by building my understanding of both the intent and implementation of regulations and allowing me to work with diverse groups of public and private stakeholders to efficiently shape appropriate policy.
- **Judd Grossman: I came to Jackson Hole in 1980. I worked in restaurants and in construction. In 1986, I started working as a full-time musician. My wife and I founded Planet Jackson Hole Weekly which we operated for 12 years before selling it in 2015. I have two children, one in high school and the other out of college. For recreation, I ski the pass and skateboard around town with my dog, Louis.
Since the first day I set foot in the valley I have been passionate about preserving this amazing place. I have never seen growth as a positive for Jackson Hole, and it’s obvious that we are becoming overpopulated, overdeveloped and over-commercialized. I feel an obligation to help steward our Town and to do everything my power to preserve its character for future generations of residents and visitors. We must seek a sustainable future that doesn’t rely on growth.
- Jonathan Schechter: For 25+ years, my professional life has focused on studying and helping Jackson Hole. I’m running because I now want to give back in a different way.
I have two specific motivations. First, Jackson is heading into a critical period. Second, during this period the Jackson Town Council will be the most important governmental body in the region.
My platform is Economy, Environment, Experience.
Jackson Hole’s economy can never be healthier than its environment. We cannot take either for granted. Economically, we need to begin preparing for the inevitable recession. Environmentally, as we grow, we need to be great stewards of our ecosystem.
Experience has two legs. First, decades of studying Jackson gives me a singular depth and breadth of knowledge. Second, I served eight years as an elected trustee of St. John’s Medical Center. Combined, these experiences will allow me to quickly become an effective town councilmember.
- Jessica Chambers: I’m running for Town Council because if we sell this place out to the highest bidders and push our workforce out; if we do not have a Jackson full of committed and present community members, there will be no one to care for and protect our treasured environment and place. Not everyone has the privilege that many of us have to enjoy our environment because there are many people who are a blink away from some kind of disaster with their housing, job, ot otherwise—conservation and stewardship often come last out of necessity for some. We need to ensure that all people who live here are protected and cared alongside our wildlife and environment; we are all part of the ecosystem. Committed and non-transient community members care for and protect our natural environment. Protecting the environment and protecting the people that live within it are not mutually exclusive. They go hand in hand.
- **Zach Padilla: My name is Zachary Padilla. I'm from Denver, Colorado. I moved here for a job offer and fell in love instantly. The people, the atmosphere, and more importantly the opportunities to succeed. I'm running to protect all that we love about this place. We need a leader that has a can do attitude. I am the only candidate with that perspective.
The Jackson/Teton County Comprehensive Plan’s 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.” What does “preserve and protect the area’s ecosystem” mean to you, and what are three specific actions you think our community should take in the next four years to work toward this vision?
- Don Frank: Expand multi modal alternatives.
Protect animals using lower vehicle speeds by policy and via citizen awareness.
We are role models for our guests.
Improve water management through best practices.
- Arne Jorgensen: I have long thought about what makes our community different from other gateway or resort communities and firmly believe that it is our ecosystem and the actions taken by the visionaries of our past to protect our valley, it is our legacy of conservation. We frankly need to all be doing more as a community, and individually, than three actions but I would suggest as a start: 1) Increase efforts to provide opportunities for visitors and residents to appropriately engage and learn about what makes this community unique, 2) Increased opportunities for committed community members to live and work in Jackson and Teton County, and 3) Very simply and immediately, the Town's strategic goals and vision should be posted in the Town Chambers.
1) We cannot be expected to know and respect something we do not experience or learn about. There is so much more that we could do to amplify the story about our Conservation Legacy, both to us in Teton County and audiences on a Regional, National and International levels. Funding support could come from a refocus of the 60% of the Lodging Tax to a broad based education of our Conservation Legacy.
2) Housing is directly and indirectly at the core of most of our communities challenges and opportunities. Both our community of people and community of place are enhanced if there continues to be a diverse range of voices in Jackson and Teton County. Identifying broad based predictable resources are critical if we are to preserve a sense of community and not become a resort only economy with only an economic focused local community. This is not to suggest that we are not part resort now, we have a strong strong culture of hosting visitors to our valley for over a century - it is a suggestion of balance.
3) The most simple things can be the most effective. The Town's strategic goals and vision used to be posted in the Town Chambers, I do not recall when they were removed but they should be reposted as a more present reminder of the impact of the Council’s deliberations.
- **Judd Grossman: Preserving and protecting the area's ecosystem means limiting growth and development as much as possible so that we don’t continue to degrade our open space, wildlife habitat and recreational resources. We need to find a sustainable balance of development and head towards a build out cap.
I will continue to insist that new development be funneled into the commercial areas of Town, so that we can keep the county as rural as possible. We need to protect Town’s existing residential neighborhoods by focusing new development into the commercial corridor between Smith’s and DQ where new residents can be within realistic walking distance of shopping, jobs, services and transit hubs. Any development rights transferred out of the county and into town should be 100% workforce deed restricted housing, or incentives for conservation. Deed restricted housing in the commercial corridor should have relaxed parking minimums to incentivize residents to live car-free.
- Jonathan Schechter: The Vision Statement is audaciously powerful, recognizing that preserving and protecting our ecosystem requires thinking beyond both the current generation and local political boundaries.
Arguably, the Vision Statement is so powerful and audacious that it has paralyzed local government from taking similarly powerful and audacious actions to support it – creating a roadmap for something that’s never been done before is a daunting task. To break this logjam, steps I advocate include:
a) Increasing the resources local government puts into supporting the vision;
b) Creating an Ecosystem Commission, analogous to the Planning Commission;
c) Using the government’s bully pulpit to bring together the ecosystem’s many stakeholders to create a roadmap; and
d) Actively developing a baseline understanding of our ecosystem’s health, without which we have no way of assessing our progress (ideally, this will build on related efforts my Charture Institute has initiated over the last several years).
- Jessica Chambers: Preserving and protecting the area’s ecosystem means that we must care for and protect the entire ecosystem including the people who inhabit it alongside the valley’s flora and fauna.
Specific actions we should take:
1. Implement the suggestions noted in the Wildlife Crossing Master Plan.
2. Ensure that the expansion of Snow King is not at the cost of the ecosystem.
3. Focus on implementing the Integrated Transportation Plan to get cars off of the road, as a meansprevent harmful human-wildlife interactions, and for the environment in general. If we want to care for this place we need to find residents and visitors alternative modes of safe and effective transportation.
- **Zach Padilla: We must take a moment to recognize how incredible this ecosystem is. We have some of the most unique opportunities to view nature at it's finest here in Jackson. Preserve would be to maintain what it is. Protect would be to make sure that future generations will have access to the same amazing opportunities. I would first make sure that there are continued laws to make sure damaging this environment would be a punishable offense. I'd also like to see us put some public funds go into preserving any natural landscape within our town. Finally, in the coming years we don't know how the economy is going to react to the volatile national economy. We must find a way to put into our town budget a balance between growing our town and the natural environment. That means as we build we must also take into account the community character.
The County recently adopted the Wildlife Crossings Master Plan, which identifies wildlife- vehicle collision hot spots and offers suggestions for mitigation measures, like overpasses and underpasses. What do you see as the next steps for this Plan and how would you prioritize implementing wildlife crossings among our community priorities?
- Don Frank: Build cooperating agency and landowner “buy in”.
This will require significant funding and consensus building.
- Arne Jorgensen: The Wildlife Crossings Master Plan is just that - a plan. Part of taking responsibility for our actions is to act when problems are identified, we have a clearly identified problem. As with all of our priorities, solutions will take funding and individual action. I feel we should address all of our priorities of wildlife, transportation and housing as they are interconnected. While implementation may be phased due to funding or readiness, this should not suggest that we should not have real discussions about all of these priorities. Given the larger infrastructure required behind many of the wildlife crossing solutions, they will take more time. This fact should be used to reinforce how each of us can today adjust our individual behavior to reduce conflict, including taking fewer vehicle trips, slowing down, getting off our cell phones (including hands free), and modeling better behavior relative to interacting with wildlife.
- **Judd Grossman: I'm interested in finding ways to minimize wildlife-vehicle collisions. My concerns are that the solutions are data-driven, cost-effective and that we take into account aesthetic issues when we build crossings. It’s also a priority to keep our traffic flowing as smoothly and as speedily as possible, so I would like to see data on the effectiveness of the lower speed limits that have been implemented. Land use planning is vital in our efforts to reduce traffic and protect our wildlife. I support considering SPET to fund wildlife crossings.
- Jonathan Schechter: Six thoughts.
a) If we are serious about the Comp Plan’s vision, we need to put more thought and resources into preserving and protecting our environment.
b) The region’s growth is clearly affecting wildlife. Traffic-related issues are one symptom of this; so are concerns such as habitat degradation.
c) Global warming will likely cause disproportionate harm to the area’s ecosystem in general, particularly wildlife.
d) Elected officials can’t know everything. They can, however, use government’s bully pulpit to gather together environmental experts and stakeholders of all sorts, and ask them to develop a comprehensive, systematic plan for preserving and protecting the area’s ecosystem.
e) Based on this plan, elected officials can allocate public resources to the most important and efficacious measures.
f) I assume wildlife crossings will rank high. If other, more cost-effective measures produce similar results, though, they should be considered. Outcomes are what matter.
- Jessica Chambers: Prioritizing the implementation of the Wildlife Crossing Master Plan is a no-brainer. We have the solutions and it is a matter of getting to work politically, jointly with the Commissioners, and figuring out funding sources. It should be coupled with getting cars off the road!
- **Zach Padilla: Sadly it does not seem that the town gets a say in this matter. I'm absolutely interested in both overpasses and underpasses. I've seen them work very well in neighboring communities. My concern would be if the priority would be to build roads to alleviate traffic issues in town or if an overpass for animal crossings is more important. We have a lot that is going on in town. The true question I'm working on answering myself is what needs to come first. I would say that I will stop spending money on things that are not a community concern. If we are going to solve these multimillion dollar issues then we will need to stop spending $100,000 on petty things. Time to tighten our purse strings.
Our community established a goal through the Comprehensive Plan of housing at least 65% of our workforce locally. The recent Housing Action Plan identified a need of 800 units over 10 years just to “catch up” with the existing workforce housing deficit, and 2000 more to “keep up” with employment growth. How would you use tools including mitigation, zoning, and incentives to balance commercial growth with workforce housing?
- Don Frank: Continue to illuminate our understanding of community wide benefits found in housing critical services, diversity and inclusion.
Identify job creation sources beyond physical development alone.
We are not accounting for many newly created jobs in the service and digital marketplaces.
Develop a more equitable, broader based participation in housing supply contributions
Incentivize private landowners and capital by zoning on available parcels.
Land costs can only be diluted though density.
We either capitulate, grow tall or we sprawl.
- Arne Jorgensen: There is no silver bullet. For nearly 30 years, my efforts with affordable housing have been based on four unwavering guiding principles, these principles are applicable at a community scale: 1) Provide opportunities to those who are committed to our community; 2) Develop and support efforts that deliver housing security and stability; 3) Protection of the public and community investment that ensures the levels of affordability, and 4) Be respectful. I strongly support the three-pronged policy approach our community is currently pursuing: 1) Shift density to appropriate locations; 2) Mitigate for impacts of our development actions; and 3) Wide public and private community-based funding efforts. While I support this policy direction, I have caveats with each that our elected officials should address to improve the fairness and effectiveness of these efforts. Our priorities of resource protection, transportation and housing should all be addressed as they are interconnected.
- **Judd Grossman: Find a balance of development types and head toward a build out cap. I support highest possible commercial housing mitigation rates. New growth must mitigate its impacts. I support FAR bonuses and eliminating parking requirements in the commercial corridor for deed restricted housing.
Simplify workforce housing deed restrictions to allow anyone to own a unit, but only full-time local workforce can occupy them. Units should be allowed to be sold as condos. There should be no income, price, or rent caps. These measures would bring capital into the deed restricted market and produce a variety of different types. Restrict the maximum size of the units. Public money should only be used to subsidize public workers. Using taxpayer money to subsidize private sector housing is corporate welfare.
We shouldn't be using public funds to promote job creation. That means repealing the Lodging Tax and avoiding taxpayer subsidies for the private sector.
- Jonathan Schechter: Housing cannot be considered independently of traffic, the environment, etc. In the 2016 Jackson Hole Compass, I outlined my approach to this complicated web:
a) Identify key wildlife habitats and migration corridors. Protect them from development.
b) Evaluate our transportation infrastructure’s capacity. Develop a community consensus regarding acceptable traffic levels. Combine to determine how much traffic we can handle.
c) Use this information to determine how many people we can comfortably fit into the remaining private land; i.e., develop a sense of our ultimate build-out.
d) Determine commercial needs etc. of this population.
e) Examine these results in light of property rights, legal limits, common sense, financing, etc. Adjust as necessary.
f) Build-out target in hand, ask the private sector to build as much affordable/workforce housing as possible.
Finally, Jackson Hole is special, but not unique: Every nice place has an affordable housing problem. What can we learn from them?
- Jessica Chambers: Housing our workforce is essential to protecting our wildlife and environment for a multitude of reasons, not to mention it being good for human inhabitants.
Mitigation, zoning, incentives, and decreasing parking requirements for new development must be used in concert with one another to be truly effective.
Mitigation for commercial growth is very important, one to curb the increase of jobs which presently outpaced housing development, and secondly, to at least prevent a backslide of the ratio of jobs to housing.
Zoning needs to be augmented to address the need for denser housing (for rental units especially) in areas that are appropriate and to lessen conflict between humans and wildlife.
Incentives don’t seem to be very effective overall but coupled with other tools perhaps they can potentially encourage folks to build more workforce housing, but it often results in the status quo.
- **Zach Padilla: My plan would be to have the government pull out of the housing market. Currently there are regulations in place that would prevent workforce housing from being created. If we are going to solve this problem we need to allow developers to make a profit from building housing. If it is profitable then they will do the job, but with current regulations there is no incentive to build housing. The job market is going to grow one way or the other. The only thing I can say to that would be for the town council to encourage specific behavior like producing on site housing. I will also make sure that there is a full time person educating the public on our town's issues. This full time person will be in charge of engaging the community in a series of public discussions.
It has been six years since the completion and adoption of the Comprehensive Plan, and we have since hit the 6% growth trigger that signals the need for its review. What would your goals be with a review and would you consider any changes to the Plan? If so, what?
- Don Frank: All planning and policy visions set priorities and goals.
Policy review must comprehend and manage for change, change being the only constant.
The growth of our human colony brings both opportunity and challenge.
We will thoughtfully tailor our impacts and constraints toward respect for our irreplaceable environment and the sensitive
accommodation of human lives.
- Arne Jorgensen: As the primary reflection of community goals, the Comprehensive Plan should be updated as necessary to remain relevant. While many of the goals and policies remain pertinent, there are two areas that could be improved: 1) Restructure the discussion to more accurately reflect the interconnectedness of the issues facing the community. The current structure, by issue, tends to suggest that these issues are independent each other and 2) More clearly define what makes this community unique: A legacy of conservation and an awareness that there is a common good that supports our individual success.
- **Judd Grossman: We need to take further steps to protect open space, wildlife habitat, and residential neighborhoods. We need to focus new development into the commercial urban corridor of Jackson. We need to look for ways to transfer or eliminate development rights in the county. We need to make sure our road system is optimized, expanded and connected so that it can handle the traffic we generate. We need to ratchet down our build out numbers. We need to prevent further resort expansion.
- Jonathan Schechter: To honor the Comp Plan’s integrity, we need to act on its built-in trigger (even if that process might be painful).
My goal for a review is simple: develop a thoughtful process for assessing how well the plan is working, focusing on its strengths and shortcomings. The process should include developing recommendations for bolstering that which is working, and fixing that which is not.
Clearly we’ll need to address the parts of the plan that are not working well. Absent a comprehensive review, though, it is wildly premature to say what those are. Equally problematic is suggesting changes without considering how one proposed change might affect other, related elements of the plan. The first word in the plan’s title is “Comprehensive” – no one piece of it stands alone.
The most successful approach will be thoughtful and deliberative, drawing upon the experience and expertise of the entire community.
- Jessica Chambers: To have a review of job creation in the valley and its effect on our ecosystem so we can say with confidence how we need to tackle our community issues with housing and transportation and protect our local ecosystem. These seem to be the most important issues to implement the Comp Plan and we need better, more concrete guidance.
- **Zach Padilla: Only major concern I have is housing in this plan. Growing up I believed that the government was there to protect my rights. Now we have a plan that controls the job market and the housing market. I don't believe that is the governments job. If there is money to be made on commercial growth then developers will build them. Same for the housing market. Let's make sure that all development is not controlled by the town/county but encourage them to build housing instead. This can be done simply by allowing the free market to do it's job. I of course would have some level of regulation in place to protect us from overdevelopment.
Snow King recently released a new development proposal to expand the resort boundaries, build new chairlifts outside the existing footprint, and add new amenities and additional condos. What do you envision for the future of our Town Hill, and what role should the Town Council/Board of County Commissioners play in achieving that vision?
- Don Frank: The Town Council is facilitating stakeholder engagement and will conduct broad based review of potential impacts on public land and facilities.
Snow King is a competitor in the regional, gravity game marketplace.
Because it is an urban peripheral location, we can contemplate long term success at our doorstep while we reduce vehicle travel.
I will be keeping a close eye on agreements that are “fair to all parties”.
“Shop locally for world class mountain amenity.”
- Arne Jorgensen: I feel that many of the current proposals are premature. In the mid ‘90s, the Snow King Resort zone was created and in the early ‘00s, the Snow King Master Plan was approved. Both of these actions were based on a recognition that the public benefit reflected by the ski area requires ongoing financial support. Unfortunately, several of the economic entities at the base were separated from the ski area management. There are opportunities for the Town to play a larger role in reconnecting the Hotel and Condominiums with direct support of the Town Hill. This reconnection of the stakeholders should take place before the update to the Master Plan is completed. As these discussions play out, I do recognize that the ski area will look different in the future.
- **Judd Grossman: Snow King should not be allowed to expand its footprint. Any road building or clear cutting beyond current resort boundaries is completely unacceptable. For decades we have been giving concessions to Snow King in order to preserve the ski area - including amusement park style amenities that the community would never have approved in another context. I feel we are being manipulated. It’s time we take a stand. Snow King expansion will add to our overpopulation and traffic problems, so it should not be encouraged. The ski area is a beloved part of Jackson, but if it is failing it should probably shrink to a sustainable size - not expand. The ballpark land is a precious community asset and shouldn’t be relinquished. Any new commercial development should house all its workers.
- Jonathan Schechter: Three thoughts.
a) I hope this race will focus on issues facing the next Town Council. Snow King’s expansion is not such an issue, because it is scheduled for a vote in 2018. The only way my opinion will matter is if the vote is delayed until 2019. Ditto the other non-incumbents.
b) If it is delayed, I won’t want to vote on it until I am comfortable with the proposal’s details, especially the inevitable changes. This is a complicated issue, and it does a disservice to everyone who cares about Snow King’s future to pass judgement without a full understanding. I don’t have that understanding now, but will have it should I ever vote on the issue.
c) If I do vote on it, I will use the Comp Plan’s vision as my filter: How does this proposal affect preserving and protecting the area’s ecosystem?
- Jessica Chambers: Expanding chairlift access outside of the current footprint is a big ‘no.’ Expanding resort boundaries is extremely questionable and must be examined with the utmost care. The recent expansions has had negative impacts on the wildlife on the eastern side of the mountain.
NO on condos. We need workforce housing. And the “Town Hill” is a perfect location for housing for the working people of Jackson, who use the hill the most!
The future of the Town Hill should be balanced with the needs of the community and the needs of the wildlife and delicate ecosystem, and it should help the community thrive and consider the towns needs in the same spirit as the town did with its incredible price for Snow King to lease the land it was built upon.
- **Zach Padilla: Snow King is going to expand. In one way shape or form it's going to happen. I encourage it and am looking forward to all of it. The trick would be to avoid the "Disneyland effect". In order for us as locals to continue to enjoy the natural beauty as it is we will need to make sure that some measures are followed to preserve the land. I want it to look like a mountain not a ski resort. I want to make sure we mitigate our impact on the wildlife. In the end it still needs to be the town hill.
The County is in the process of updating our Natural Resource Protections, and Town will update theirs in 2019 – this includes new Natural Resource Tiers, regulations to prevent bears from getting into garbage, and protections for rivers and streams. What would you like to see included in this update?
- Don Frank: Obtain and consult peer reviewed scientific data.
Make rational decisions to minimize injury to natural resources.
Educate children, neighbors and guests about best environmental safeguards.
Our footprint within the human colony can be softer and more accountable.
Our expanding footprint in the backcountry should be recognized and minimized through “leave no trace” and “less is more” citizen behavior choices.
RE: Bears. Clean your plate.
- Arne Jorgensen: We as a community can do better about stewarding the natural resources that serve at the core of what makes this place so incredible. I believe that the current County discussions are including the appropriate issues. As this discussion moves into Town, some of the issues will look different. These differences should include management of trash and composting, creation of stormwater districts, barriers to wildlife movement such as privacy fences, speed limits and enforcements, wildlife crossing solutions becoming more intimate, and household pet impacts.
- **Judd Grossman: I would like to see the interface with the wildlands that border Town be better respected. Intensity of development should taper off the closer we get to the public lands to reduce wildlife disturbance and increase permeability. I would also like to see incremental efforts to uncover Cache Creek from its culverts as it passes through Town, and more public access to Flat Creek
- Jonathan Schechter: Two foundational thoughts.
First, we should filter any policies, regulations, and the like through the Comp Plan’s vision: preserve and protect the area’s ecosystem.
Second, I am not an expert in this area. No non-incumbent is, and it’s likely that not even the incumbents know enough right now to make specific recommendations.
What I can say is that, if elected, I will approach new natural resources protections the same way I have approached learning about other facets of the community for the past 25+ years: reaching out to experts and involved citizens; learning from them; then using my best judgement to decide how to proceed. This approach has served me well in my research and writing, as well as in the many efforts I’ve initiated and led to help Jackson Hole address its challenges and seize its opportunities. I believe is will also serve me well as a councilmember.
- Jessica Chambers: Greater guidance on human-wildlife interactions and/or development and wildlife-habitat interactions and/or conflicts.
How to address agreements made between individuals or parties that were made before current understandings of the needs of habitat and wildlife, as is potentially the case with Karns Meadow or even the Snow King Master Plan.
- **Zach Padilla: It seems that we have yet to really do anything with our trash in town/county. I'm not a wildlife expert by all means but it seems to me that stricter laws on waste management would be helpful to protect our wildlife and humans from any random wildlife encounter. I love seeing random animals like Moose wander through town. It's an amazing thing to see. I don't want to see them hurt by cars but I also don't want to see someone go take out their trash and they get attacked by a bear. Metal sealed garbage cans would be a good start, but there may be more that can be done. In office I will keep my ear to the ground in order to learn more about what needs to be done. As I learn more I will make sure to voice the communities opinions in order to see solid results to mitigate our impact on the surrounding environment.
Our community has also established the goal of residents and visitors being able to safely, efficiently, and economically move within our community and throughout the region on foot, bike, and transit. What specific projects, programs, and policies from the Integrated Transportation Plan should we prioritize over the next four years to continue on our journey toward this goal?
- Don Frank: Optimize the START program and expand facilities, rolling stock and route systems.
We have just adopted an E-bike policy allowing more folks of varied needs and circumstances to more safely and time efficiently commute and recreate.
Actualize “Hub and Spoke” transit centers, in town, south of town, West Bank and explore flexible private - public parking solutions.
Fund mass transit through cooperative business and civic contributions.
- Arne Jorgensen: The Integrated Transportation Plan is just that - a plan. Part of taking responsibility for our actions is to act when problems are identified - and we have a clearly identified problem. As with all of our priorities, solutions will take funding and individual action. We should address all of our priorities of resource protection, transportation and housing as they are truly interconnected. Our road and parking infrastructure have essentially remained unchanged for decades but it is being used by a much larger number of people. Possibly more so than other challenges facing our town, we can all make an impact on traffic congestion with our personal choices. As a community, we should consider the ways in which we incentivize fewer single occupancy vehicles, utilize the roadway width we have, expand START options, expand alternative means of transportation, and address redundancy (particularly related to public safety).
The Integrated Transportation Plan (ITP) contains a wide range of actions to address our community needs, ranging from large infrastructure projects to smaller incentive programs. As with all of our priorities, solutions will take funding and individual action. We should address all of our priorities of resource protection, transportation and housing as they are truly interconnected. Our road and parking infrastructure have essentially remained unchanged for decades but it is being used by a much larger number of people. We should prioritize the ways in which we incentivize fewer single occupancy vehicles, utilize the roadway width we have, significantly expand START options, expand access to alternative means of transportation, and address redundancy (particularly related to public safety). The ITP does not seem to recognize that possibly more so than other challenges we face, we can all make an impact on reducing transportation impacts with our personal choices.
- **Judd Grossman: The success of multimodal transportation follows good land use planning. We can’t continue to build suburban style development and expect people to live car-free lifestyles. New development should be located in the urban commercial corridor of Jackson where people have realistic walking access the services. Remove parking minimums in this corridor and implement paid parking to make better use of available land and to incentivise multimodal travel. Use the revenue to fund START’s Town services and more parking structures.
Institute a START hub and spoke system that serves residential neighborhoods with the appropriate number and size of buses. The Shuttle should become a true commercial corridor circulator serving commercial areas only. START needs to convert to electric buses and vans to lower the noise and pollution impacts of its service. Commercial interests need to pay for commuter service and service to Teton Village.
- Jonathan Schechter: Effective governance is not about having the answers, but about hiring a knowledgeable, highly-competent staff, asking the right questions, and charging them with getting the job done.
I don’t know enough about transportation to prioritize our next steps. I do know three things:
a) We have big city transportation problems, but a small town population and budget;
b) We have a strong Integrated Transportation Plan;
c) We have a lot of smart people working hard to execute that plan.
If elected, I will do all I can to support out community’s plan and our team of transportation experts.
I also will ask the community two fundamental questions:
a) How much traffic congestion are we willing to bear?
b) How much are we willing to pay to address our transportation issues?
Absent a consensus on these two questions, successfully addressing our transportation issues will be even more challenging.
- Jessica Chambers: Expanding public transportation within the county, such as service to South Park and Rafter J.
Improving the fleet of busses and their maintenance.
Expanding and supporting pathways.
I hate to say expanding service to other communities beyond Star Valley as it seems to be counterproductive to keeping the workforce local, but I do understand the need, but I don’t want to encourage it.
- **Zach Padilla: I'm a long distance runner myself. I enjoy our pathway system all the time. I have guests that come stay with me year round and they consistently are impressed with our pathways. I'd like to continue to protect these and build more where needed. It's obvious that we have a major traffic problem. I would like to make sure to encourage the local workforce to use alternative methods to get to work instead of driving their cars. Maintaining these pathways and encouraging alternative methods of transportation are huge for me. At the same time I say that I'm trying to cut our spending as much as possible to handle larger issues. For instance my question would be then do you want more pathways or the north bridge?
What is your vision for the future of our Teton County federal lands, and what is your perspective on the ongoing region-wide effort to transfer control of our federal public lands to the states?
- Don Frank: I am a stalwart advocate of keeping public lands public.
Federal land management is accountable to ALL US citizens and should be protected for future generations.
State controlled lands are often more vulnerable to shorter term thinking.
“You never know what you have got until it is gone”
- Arne Jorgensen: Quite simply, Federal public lands are public and should remain so. Federal management of these lands is absolutely critical to preserving the core of the Yellowstone ecosystem and to our community.
- **Judd Grossman: Federal lands in Teton County should be managed for conservation and low impact recreation. We are a world class destination for open space, wildlife habitat, and outdoor recreation. The public lands shouldn’t be subject to clear cutting, road building, and other industrial activities - including ski area expansion.
I’m not thrilled with the way that the federal government manages our lands, but I’m not convinced that the State could do a better job. I don’t really care who manages them as long as the principles I outlined above are followed.
- Jonathan Schechter: Our public lands belong to the public. Period.
Our federal land agency employees are exceptionally high-caliber. We are lucky to have them.
For a variety of reasons, it is madness to transfer federal lands to the states. Chief among them: States don’t have the resources to properly steward public lands. As a result, if the state ever does take control of local federal lands, our economic health will be jeopardized.
In creating our parks, forests, refuges, wilderness areas, and other public lands, America entered into an eternal contract, promising future generations they would be able to experience these lands the way our forebears found them. We have a legal and moral obligation to honor both the letter and spirit of those contracts. This means not just keeping public lands in public hands, but funding them adequately so they remain both intact and healthy for future generations.
- Jessica Chambers: Keep public lands in public hands! My perspective on the ongoing region-wide effort to transfer control of our federal public lands is to fight like hell to prevent it! And, I call upon all of us, regardless of political affiliation, to lobby both our statewide representatives, such as Rep. Marti Halverson, and our national politicians, to object to this land-grab attempt by Republicans to turn a profit on our public lands. Public lands must remain in public hands.
- **Zach Padilla: I don't want to lose any natural space in our town/county. Unless I hear otherwise I understand how important these open spaces are to our community. I don't see any reason to transfer them to the state.
Please share your priorities or comments on any other issues not covered in the previous questions.
- Don Frank: I have witnessed disturbing political behaviors in recent years, nationally and even locally.
I caution against the labeling-discouragement of an open market place of ideas.
I will set an example for focusing on interests based outcomes rather than positional agendas
We are an interdependent species who thrive when the needs of the many are placed before more narrow ones.
A civil and objective public process informs the to search for the “selfless” over the “self serving”.
There is no them, only us. Let’s be good neighbors to each other.
- Arne Jorgensen: The discussions raised by these questions ignore a significant question that is absolutely necessary if we are going to address any of these priorities: How do we fund our priorities? In addition to core government services, we can afford to make real progress on our goals and dreams. I feel that the missing element is a lack of credibility many of the voters have with our elected officials. There are a number of actions that could be taken by the elected officials to build credibility, leading to more predictable resources required to do the things we say we want to do. These actions range from providing more predictability with the SPET process, reevaluating the spending on the Lodging Tax, and not exempting government from requirements that the private sector is required to do.
I am Arne Jorgensen and would appreciate your vote for Jackson Town Council – Thank you.
- **Judd Grossman: The legendary character of Jackson Hole is a non-renewable resource that we are consuming. Our valley is not a brand it is a small town, rural, western, wild place that is beloved by residents and visitors worldwide. As residents we have an obligation to steward this valley. We cannot let JH be degraded by rampant growth and overpopulation in the name of prosperity or because of some misguided notion that we are here, so “who are we to put limits on the amount of growth?”. It’s up to us to save Jackson Hole. Nobody else can or will. There are millions of people who wish to live here. We can’t build our way out of this problem. Endless growth will lead to an irreversible degradation of our magic valley. We need to seek a sustainable future that doesn’t rely on growth. Fight for our valley.
- Jonathan Schechter: -
- Jessica Chambers: If we allow this place to be bought out, or become a resort town, our environment and the protection of it will be cast aside for profit. If we push our workforce out, if we do not have a Jackson full of committed and present community members, there will be no one to care for and protect our treasured environment and place. As we all know, our issues span subjects. However, they’re interconnected: Housing, childcare and food costs, wages, discrimination, transportation, social services, the lodging tax, the future of Snow King, and the environment and conservation, etc — are ALL linked. How we address them can either strengthen our community or weaken it. I see housing as the crux of all of these issues but, I don’t want to gloss over the environment—I recognize the overwhelming importance of protecting this place that we all, and I mean ALL, love. Protecting our people goes hand in hand with conservation and stewardship. It’s all protection of our delicate ecosystem.
- **Zach Padilla: You must understand that when I moved here I first fell in love with the beauty of this place. Then a couple days into being here I fell in love with these people. I will fight every single day to protect my family and my home. It's an honor to live here and now own property here. I cherish my few employees and I'm proud to give them a good job. When the time comes I'm sure it will be an honor to serve this community that much further. I will listen to all walks of life and any perspective is worth listening to. I hope to encourage all residents to get involved and speak their minds. I can't possibly know everything so I will rely on the community to give me all the resources. If there is one talent that God gave me it is the ability to learn anything very quickly. I want to be here for them as a voice of reason, of balance, and of compassion.