PROPS & DISSES: Comp Plan, Shmomp Plan

By on April 30, 2013

JACKSON HOLE, WYO –

Comp Plan, Shmomp Plan   DISS

Photo cutline: Modeling of what the valley should look like in 15 years. The question is, will the Comp Plan be done by then? Photo credit: Town of Jackson

Photo cutline: Modeling of what the valley should look like in 15 years. The question is, will the Comp Plan be done by then?
Photo credit: Town of Jackson

Has anyone else had it up to “here” with this Comp Plan nonsense? Do other growing communities need or use comprehensive plans? More importantly, do they spend half a million dollars to make it happen?

The new Comprehensive Plan was supposed to be a year-and-a-half in the making. The town set aside $150,000, tops, to get it done. That was January 2007. What was proposed as just a revamp of the 1994 plan is now a major overhaul. Endless opportunities for the public to weigh in has created a predictably vague document and yet Save Historic Jackson Hole’s chairman, Louis Wang, thinks it was sneaked past the public somehow. Jim Genzer et al have added their lawsuit as the cherry on top (which has cost the Town of Jackson about $50k to defend so far).

And what is it all for? The guiding document has a shelf life of about 15 years. Scratch that, make it 10 years now. The document was finally signed a year ago, and we are still fiddling with Character District Maps and facing such a major rewrite of the Land Development Regulations that it’s likely the new Comp Plan’s effects won’t be seen for at least another year. Heck, we better get started on the next one now.

Meanwhile, developers who are able to borrow money will be railroading their projects through using the antiquated and builder-friendly PMD tool while electeds wait for divine inspiration from the Comp Plan.

Now comes word from the Texas-based consultants who know about these things that the town and county have been doing a crummy job of adhering to the old Comp Plan and its LDRs and need to significantly change their approach to development, especially downtown, if they want to achieve the goals of the new plan. They also intimated that commissioners and councilors talk a good game but haven’t backed it up much.

The town and county can throw endless money at plans designed to reflect the community’s wishes pertaining to growth, but it’s all an exercise in futility if the plan is not narrow enough in scope to provide clear goals to our decision-makers. A more effective use of the public’s voice is simply to show up at planning meetings as well as town and county meetings where developers sing their song and the panelists judge the performance twice monthly.

The Hole losing its soul   DISS

Holy crap, this is my worst nightmare: My dog goes missing for a few days and comes back all “effed” up. I read Tammy Marshall’s Facebook post with chills when she described how her heeler, Chama, had disappeared from her home in Shootin’ Iron and turned up the next day in town all muddy with a missing collar and abused coochie.

It’s disgusting to even speculate what might have happened to that dog.

People are always surprised things like this can happen in their town. Jackson Hole may be an idyllic place in a lot of ways but one read of the police blotter and it is clear Jackson Hole is like any other place in America.

We’ve got meth heads sitting in county lockup. We’ve got drug dealers awaiting trial. We’ve got one SOB who copped a deal after allegedly raping and beating his girlfriend and leaving her near death in a pool of blood. The arrangement will allow Robert Carmichael, 28, to plead “no contest,” thereby seriously hampering any potential civil suit the victim may want to file in order to get some justice.

It will be interesting to see what Judge Tim Day imposes for a sentence – max allowable by law would be a 30-year stint for both the aggravated assault and aggravated sexual assault charges. Whattya wanna bet Carmichael skates on this? I’ll be watching.

Pitching in for parks   PROP

Look, I was against opening Yellowstone roads on schedule if it meant bailing out the feds to do it. But those like Chamber ED Jeff Golightly, who said it would be a marketing narrative you couldn’t pay for, might be right. More than a few planted stories have made the rounds, nationally, about the little community that pitched in and came to the aid of the budget-busted federal government to get their neighborhood park opened up.

On the heels of the goodwill movement comes news that private donations will allow two visitor centers in Grand Teton National Park to open after they were slated for seasonal closure by park accountants due to sequestration cuts. Grand Teton Association offered to pony up $46k from the proceeds of their book sales to open Jenny Lake, and Jackson Hole Preserve chipped in $70k to keep the doors open at the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve station.


About Jake Nichols

Jake is a work in progress.

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