View the chart below to see how your County Commissioners voted on important local decisions, then read on below to learn more about each issue.
FISH CREEK FENCING: VARIANCE 2017-0005 AND VARIANCE 2018-0001
Failed - 7/17/18 - Alliance opposed
This fencing proposal would have broken our county’s protections for natural resources. A landowner in Wilson applied for two variances: one to allow for a fence within a wetland and one to allow physical development within the setback zone. The Environmental Assessment accompanying the application showed that this proposal would negatively impact wetlands and wildlife.
HOUSING REQUIREMENTS UPDATE
Approved - 7/16/18 - Alliance supported
Town and County adopted new housing mitigation requirements to balance
job growth, development, and the need for housing. Our quality of life and community character require that we sustain a true local community, not just a resort, where at least 65% of our local workers can afford to live here, as outlined in the 2012 Comprehensive Plan. New developments that create jobs now have to provide housing for more of the year-round, full-time employees they generate. The developers also get “density bonuses” so they can build bigger buildings to economically fit the employee housing. Following intense lobbying from the Jackson Hole Classical Academy, the County (but not the Town) exempted private school developers from these requirements. We did not support this exemption.
RURAL BUILDING SIZE: AMENDMENT 2018-0001
Failed – 1/3/19 – Alliance opposed
The Jackson Hole Classical Academy’s consultants proposed amendments to the Rural Land Development Regulations (LDRs) for building size and operating hours. Existing regulations for rural preservation zoning did not allow the building sizes and uses they wanted to build in rural South Park. The County Commission rejected the building size proposal because it undermines policies put in place to protect the county’s values of rural and open space. After this decision, the Academy got legislators in other counties to run a state bill to overrule the county – see Senate File 49 below in the State section.
RURAL OPERATING HOURS: AMENDMENT 2018-0002
Approved – 12/18/18 – Alliance opposed
This amendment was proposed in conjunction with the rural building sizes text amendment (above). The county approved the operating hours amendment to allow schools to operate at a wider range of hours than previously allowed.
SNOW KING: EXTENSION OF COMMENT PERIOD
Approved –9/4/19 – Alliance supported
Following a request from local conservation hero Patty Ewing and other community members, the County Commissioners asked the Bridger- Teton National Forest (BTNF) to extend the “scoping comment” period for the Snow King Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Town of Jackson representatives also asked for a comment period extension. As a result, the BTNF extended the public commenting period to 62 days instead of the minimum 30. This gave the public more time to get informed about the developers’ proposals and weigh in for Snow King to succeed as our town hill, not an amusement park.
SNOW KING: SCOPING COMMENTS
Approved – 9/24/18 – Alliance supported
The County Commission submitted their own letter to BTNF during the initial commenting period for the Snow King EIS. They wrote a well-balanced letter, requesting alternatives including: “multiple options for on-mountain road development, including: designation(s) that would address uses that will be allowed or limited on the new road and associated avalanche mitigation areas proposed in new/expanded acreage; options for development that involve a zero net-increase of current resort boundary acreage; and that the EIS process takes into careful consideration how the current Snow King proposal adheres to community goals and local regulations outlined in the 2012 Jackson/ Teton County Comprehensive Plan.”
WILDLIFE CROSSINGS MASTER PLAN ADOPTION
Approved – 6/18/18 – Alliance supported
Last June, the County Commission adopted the new Teton County Wildlife Crossings Master Plan. Every year, more than 500 animals are hit and killed on Teton County roads. It doesn’t have to be this way. Wildlife crossings are bridges and tunnels designed to help wildlife safely cross the road. While it’s helpful to slow down and pay attention to wildlife, it’s simply not enough. Combined with fencing along the roads to funnel animals to the crossings, wildlife crossings have proven themselves as the most effective way to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions. In Wyoming, Montana, and Canada, wildlife crossings have reduced wildlife- vehicle collisions by nearly 90%. The Master Plan identifies and ranks the top priority collision locations and potential solutions. Thanks to our many partners who contributed to the plan including Vance Carruth, Sandy Shuptrine, Western Transportation Institute, Teton Conservation District, Teton County, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and Amy Ramage with the Teton County Engineering Department and the Alliance. Now, it’s time to fund and build safe wildlife crossings. We hope to see a SPET measure before voters soon.
WYOMING PUBLIC LANDS INITIATIVE RESOLUTION
Approved – 11/13/18 – Alliance supported
In 2016, Teton County appointed the “Wyoming Public Lands Initiative” (WPLI) committee to consider the future of the Shoal Creek and Palisades wilderness study areas (WSAs). The purpose of the committee was to determine future land designations for the two WSAs. With differing opinions on motorized use, the committee did not reach a compromise. However, stakeholders generally agreed that there should be no more oil and gas development, hard rock mining, commercial timber extraction, or new roads on National Forest land in Teton County. The County Commission voted to forward this agreement to Congress.