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

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: council@townofjackson.com.

 

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

If you “Don’t Know, Vote NO.”