Teton County is a special place. Let’s plan with that in mind, and let’s take action starting with the vision outlined in the county’s comprehensive plan adopted in 2012:
Preserve and protect the area’s ecosystem in order to ensure a healthy environment, community and economy for current and future generations.
Community development, conservation, and land use decisions are complex. My evaluation of options are based on six key principles:
1. Accept change.
The challenge is not to prevent inevitable change, any more than you can prevent a child from growing into an adult. Instead, the challenge is to shape change to meet the goals of our community.
2. Grow Intelligently.
Teton County cannot protect what we value and also accommodate every person who would like to live here. We should grow and change, but we must do so on our terms, with utmost respect for the wildlife and public lands that make Teton County and Greater Yellowstone globally significant.
3. Cooperate closely.
Teton County should cooperate closely with the Town of Jackson, Teton County School District, and Teton Village, as well as with Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Wyoming Department of Transportation, Bridger-Teton National Forest, National Elk Refuge, Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and other state and federal land- and water-management agencies.
4. Keep Decisions local.
While cooperating closely with these local, state, and federal agencies, we should plan for our own future and advance our interests through cooperative planning. We should not, however, outsource decisions about our community to other agencies. We should be accountable for our county’s future.
5. Take Action on Priorities.
Teton County’s top three priorities are workforce housing, transportation solutions, and making Teton County a model of environmental sustainability.
6. Support Our Workforce.
To remain a diverse community, Teton County must strategically work towards the Teton Comprehensive Plan of locally housing 65% of our workforce. It's imperative to provide our locals (whether teaching school, working at the hospital, or staffing the hotels and restaurants) with a fighting chance to afford a home. We also need to make strides in providing transportation options for commuters which will result in decreased wildlife collisions and less neighborhood disruption.