You Did It!

Proposed land development regulations for District 2 in downtown Jackson were successfully overturned in today’s vote. The “No” vote won, 827 to 647.

The reasons to vote no were many, so it could have been any number of things that resonated with voters. Maybe some understood that the Workforce Housing Bonus Tool would create more problems than it would solve by adding more jobs than housing. Perhaps voters were suspicious of the way short-term rentals were added late in the game to one developer in particular. Still others might not have been clear on what was going on and opted to hit the pause button.

This election result should at the very least send a clear message to our town electeds that will likely reverberate well beyond District 2. Citizens are tired of being sold out to developers. They are generally distrustful now of our leaders for reasons they’ve brought on themselves. And many people don’t believe the hype: that building our way out of our housing woes is anything but a bad idea.

Hopefully, our local governing body will do the right thing and strip out commercial short-term rentals. We do not need to give developers any incentives to build their skyscrapers in Jackson. The pittance of workforce housing that could come with these commercial entitlements ar not affordable housing but deed restricted housing. The difference is they have no restrictions on assets, salary, or net worth. If you can prove you live here, you can try to outbid every other millionaire in the valley for them.

Voters saw through the “Yes” vote’s attempt to make this about housing. It isn’t. It never was. It’s about government listening to the people.

This is a victory for democracy, and for those who cherish our small Western town full of charm and character. Community over condos

Still making up your mind?


Did you catch the editorial “face off” in Wednesday’s News&Guide weekly?

Jake Nichols from Save Historic Jackson Hole made the case for a “No” vote in the District 2 special election on September 20.

Jeff Golightly from the Chamber of Commerce pitched the “Yes” side’s arguments.

Read them carefully. You will decide. We include the “No” vote argument here. For the opposing side you’ll have to spend a dollar on the newspaper.


Links to online “Guest Shot” versions so you can comment:

     Vote NO

          Vote YES



FAQ: September 20 Special Election

Why is there a special election?

A group of dedicated volunteers collected signatures from 10% of the registered voters in the Town of Jackson asking for a referendum on ordinances 1121 through 1129 concerning District 2 land development regulations (LDRs).


What is a referendum?

A referendum allows the citizens to vote on ordinances passed by elected officials. If a majority of citizens vote “NO” in the special election, the elected officials must repeal those ordinances.


Why are we allowed to have a referendum?

A referendum is part of the checks-and-balances provided by the Wyoming Constitution to ensure that our elected officials are acting in the best interests of our community.


What do those ordinances allow?

The ordinances are very complex. Our elected officials have not done a good job educating the public on what they allow. Current land regulations for District 2 in downtown Jackson would allow commercial development to roughly double from what is on the ground now. These new ordinances also permit an additional 100,000 square feet of short-term rentals over and above what is currently allowed. The ordinances change other things in the downtown core, but most people are upset about the additional short-term rentals.


Why do they want more short-term rentals?

The elected officials think short-term rentals will provide a solution to our workforce housing problems. In reality, the demand for housing that they create is greater than any worker housing they provide. More short-term rentals will provide greater profits for a select few developers.


What are short-term rentals?

The new ordinances propose building luxury penthouse apartments that would rent for 30 days or less. They are intended to serve people who are here on vacation.


Why should I care about more short-term rentals?

Short-term rentals typically charge many times the going rate for long-term rentals so they are not affordable for workers. They also create a great deal of demand for service workers who then need to find housing; exacerbating a problem we already know we have.


What do I need to do?

Show up to vote! There is only one polling place in the basement of the County Administrative building at 200 S. Willow on September 20th. There is no early voting and you will not get an absentee ballot even if you requested one for the November election. You must request an absentee ballot if you cannot vote on the 20th. Vote “NO.”


Why are they making it so hard to vote, and why not have the vote during the November election?

Those are good questions to ask our Mayor and Town Council. Phone: 733-3932 ext. 1000. Or email:


I am still confused about the issue. What should I do?

If you “Don’t Know, Vote NO.”

Yes, it’s come to this…

Referendum on District 2 LDRs.

Look, we just don’t feel right about the way things went down in District 2’s zoning. We know most of you don’t either. Some are biting their tongue and claiming they are OK with the compromise. “It’s the best we can do, right?”

Wrong. We can do better. We deserve better.

We were told, we were PROMISED, no commercial would be added to downtown Jackson. We have enough already—millions of square feet yet to be used. Still, when we all went home feeling like our voice was heard, our town leaders snuck back in short-term rentals (high end condominiums) that will be rented VRBO and Airbnb to attract even more tourists, more traffic, more subsequent workforce to handle the resulting labor needs.

This was done to accommodate Think About It Jackson Hole and a few developers who are sitting on property in District 2, chomping at the bit to make their money. Once again, Jackson Hole is for sale.

Feeling sold out? So are we.

That’s why Save Historic Jackson Hole is pulling out our last resort. We will be launching a referendum if the third and final reading is passed on August 1, making this switcharoo of additional short-term commercial rental the new law. That’s not fair. Our community deserves a say in this. We did for more than two years—and we thank our town leaders for the chance to participate—but we were hoodwinked in the 11th hour. That’s not how government should work.

Want a say in how your town is run? Sign the petition. Want to get more involved? Help us collect signatures. Call Justin at (307) 690-6994and find out how you can get involved and take back your town.

Here is our ad running in the Jackson Hole Daily:

SHJH 7-28-16 NaG ad


D2 worked out; cap imposed

Jim Stanford
Jim Stanford

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Town leaders got an earful from both sides but at the end of a 4-hour meeting the council held firm to District 2 land development regulations that recently added short-term commercial potential to 15 blocks of the downtown core. In addition, elected officials also decided to enact a numerical cap that leaders felt would better ensure high-end condo development didn’t get out of hand in Jackson. A 100,000-square-foot threshold of short-term rentals was established. It was enough to satisfy councilman Jim Stanford, but Don Frank became the sole no vote as the council moved to again makeover District 2 land regs and send the ordinance back to first reading. Second reading is expected to take place July 18.

The upshot is that while short-term rentals did sneak their way back into the LDRs for District 2, the 2.4 million square feet potential of such commercial lodging will be limited to 100,000 square feet—at which time, a new ordinance would have to be passed to allow for short-term rental development to go beyond this mark.

D2: Dirty deal

We aren’t the only ones upset with our elected officials over their change-up in zoning in downtown Jackson where they opted, in the 11th hour, to add millions more square feet of commercial after promising not to. The result of which, by the way, could mean more 50 more hotels in the core of downtown Jackson alone. That’s right…50 more 115-room hotels.

That’s an incredible amount of increased traffic and growth generator. Besides the tourists driving to and from the hotels, each will require staff. Reservations desk, bellboy, valet, concierge, maintenance, housekeepers, laundry, cooks, servers, HVAC repair, and administrators like a GM, assistants, PR, HR, Food & Beverages.

It was a major decision made in AFTER public participation convinced town leaders to stop building hotels and restaurants that worsen our housing and transportation problems. When you’re in a hole, you stop digging, right?


The town council passed out shovels to every condo builder and hotel developer who wants to make a buck in Jackson.

pete muldoon

Mayoral candidate Pete Muldoon wrote this editorial for Planet JH about what he said was a “backroom deal” that came as a “shock to most residents.”


Also check out Meg Daly’s coverage.

D2 Switcharoo

The following letter to the editor ran in June 27, 2016 of the News&Guide.

In case you missed it:


Dear Town elected officials,

Help us understand. Because this is all we know:

You saw and heard the public outcry. Roomfuls of sobbing residents convinced you to not add more commercial zoning in District 2. You agreed and were resolute, staff had it drawn up, and it needed only the formality of three public readings to become ordinance.

Then, when everyone went home and the room was empty, you pulled a fast one. In the days leading up to your last meeting two councilors were invited to lunch with an ex-mayor and other powerful hoteliers/businessmen in the community. A third was wined and dined by Think About It Jackson Hole. And the mayor was approached by a turncoat organization that once led the charge to house people rather than build Marriotts.

Suddenly, after working with a major hotel developer, the Alliance too was “bewitched” and asked you to change your minds and add more hotel rooms to downtown Jackson. Only Jim Stanford was not invited to taste the Kool-Aid. Is it because they know Stanford is “untouchable?”

You made a shady, last-minute, backdoor deal and added millions of square feet of allowable short-term lodging, which will exacerbate our housing and traffic problems. You waited until you thought no one was watching to pull your switcheroo.

Please explain how this is good government? You must know what everyone is saying. There is no transparency in Town government, no integrity. It was “Chicago politics.”

People want a livable community. You need to fix this at your July 5 meeting.

Thank you,

Save Historic Jackson Hole


Commercial buildout

Faced with staying put with 1994 Comp Plan numbers that included 5.1 million square feet of commercial potential in the town and county, joint leaders were feeling pressure to increase these numbers. Some groups advocated for more nonresidential buildout while others — like Save Historic Jackson Hole — rallied against more commercial being added to the downtown District 2.

Town electeds heard our voice. They changed their minds and, together with the county commissioners, voted unanimously to hold to what nonresidential currently exists on the books. It’s a sensible solution.

SHJH was also successful in changing the minds of the council regarding parking spaces for residential properties in D2. Only one space was going to be required for a downtown apartment regardless of how many bedrooms it had. It is unrealistic to assume a family or multiple families renting a 3BR unit would have only one car. Regulations were changed upped to one vehicle per bedroom (2 max).

But it’s not over yet. Individuals and organizations like Think About It, Jackson Hole are rallying to have the vote overturned or changed. The LDR revision must go through three readings to become a regulation. It is expected to meet stiff opposition at every step.

First reading is Monday, June 6, at 6 p.m. in town hall chambers. SHJH would love for you to make this meeting if only to show support for what town officials have already decided, and to make sure they don’t get their mind’s changed at the last minute by special interest groups.

Revised D2 LDRs available now for review

Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 10.32.25 AMThe Town of Jackson planning department released a revised draft of the District 2: Downtown Land Development Regulations (LDRs).

The revised draft of the District 2 Downtown LDRs includes a revised Downtown zoning map, revised Lodging Overlay, and revised development standards for the five proposed new Downtown zones.

The primary changes to the previous District 2 draft were made by staff in response to recent direction from the Town Council and Board of County Commissioners to limit the amount of additional nonresidential potential in the Town and County to the amount allowed by existing zoning and to allow staff to draft new incentive tools for workforce housing. More specifically, the following major changes were made:

* The boundaries of District 2 were modified (e.g., existing residential properties on East Broadway and South Cache has been removed from District 2 and added to District 3);

* The location of the five new Downtown zones were revised to more closely match existing zone boundaries (e.g., the new Downtown Core zone replaces the existing UC zone);

* The boundary of the Lodging Overlay was returned to its existing extent;

* The Floor Area Ratios (FAR) of the five new Downtown zones were modified and/or reduced to achieve an increase of “zero” for nonresidential potential in District 2;

* The names of the five Downtown zones were modified to be more accurate and reorganized according to their level of intensity; and

* Other changes were made to the development standards to incentivize redevelopment (e.g., reductions of required Landscape Surface Ratios (LSR) in certain zones);

The draft workforce housing incentive tools authorized by the Town Council are still in the drafting process but are expected to be presented to the Planning Commission at its first scheduled hearing.

The Planning Commission will have a special hearing on the revised draft District 2: Downtown LDRs on Wednesday, March 23 at 5:30 pm. Public comment will be taken at the hearing and written public comment ( submitted before March 18 will be included in the Planning Commission staff report. The Town Council is tentatively scheduled to have its public hearing(s) on this item in late April, 2016.