‘effective’ population now 60,000

By Jim Stanford on August 30, 2013

Comments: 5 Comments

Crowd at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. During the peak of summer, Teton County draws 24,000 visitors per day. Total annual visitation is closer to 1 million people, rather than the 3 million often touted.

A few months ago, Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk raised eyebrows when, at a joint meeting of town and county leaders, he said the park does not have 3 million visitors per year, as often touted. Rather, Wenk said, the park attracts more like 1.5 million people, some of whom visit multiple times.

A study released by the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance this month further calls into question the widely held notion that Teton County hosts 3 million — sometimes stretched to 4 million — visitors per year.

The study gives a snapshot of the county’s “effective population,” or the total number of people found here at a given time. The tally combines permanent residents, second home owners, seasonal workers, commuters and tourists.

At the peak of summer (July 15), that total is more than 60,000. In winter (Feb. 15), the effective population is 40,000, and even in the shoulder seasons (April and November) the tally is 30,000.

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Posted under County Government, Economy, Politics, Town Government

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town seeks input on lodging

By Jim Stanford on April 4, 2013

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Nearly 20 years ago, the community drew a boundary around town where lodging — hotels, B&Bs, short-term rentals — would be permitted. The goal was to concentrate tourists around the Square and in areas where services and amenities are easily available.

Now, in an era of VRBO and AirBnb, those boundaries have been muddied. Also, developers are pitching new hotels on North Cache and the old Sagebrush Motel site on Flat Creek, west of Staples.

The Town of Jackson is seeking input from citizens on where lodging should be allowed. Planners are taking a fresh look at the boundary, called the lodging overlay, as they begin to write regulations for the new Comprehensive Plan.

It’s a key decision because lodging generally is seen as the most profitable use of land, meaning property owners could stand to gain or lose value. Also, the community wants to preserve the quiet character of residential neighborhoods.

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Snow King seeks zip line approval

By Jim Stanford on January 22, 2013

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Today the Jackson Town Council will consider a request by operators of the Snow King Ski Area to build a zip line on town land at the bottom of the mountain.

Snow King first floated the idea last May, and the reaction (here and here) has been less than enthusiastic.

This clip, apparently a promotional video made by the manufacturer, illustrates how the zip line would operate. Snow King has provided little information about the design, other than a diagram showing the proposed location.

The zip line would be 700 feet long, constructed east of the Cougar chairlift and west of the ice rink. The top and bottom stations would be on two parcels of land owned by the Town of Jackson. Snow King owns the parcel in between.

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Posted under Economy, Entertainment, Environment, Politics, Ski Resorts, Sports, Town Government

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Don Frank to serve as 5th councilor

By Jim Stanford on January 17, 2013

Comments: 11 Comments

The Jackson Town Council today appointed Don Frank, a 22-year Jackson Hole resident and Indian Trails homeowner, to serve the remaining two years in the seat vacated by Melissa Turley.

Frank is president of Dembergh Construction. He and his wife, Maryellen, have two teenage boys.

Mayor Mark Barron and councilors Bob Lenz, Hailey Morton and Jim Stanford voted to appoint him, after hours of deliberation over two days. The seat was vacant following Turley’s election to the Teton County Board of Commissioners.

Frank was one of 11 applicants who interviewed before the council Wednesday. He was the first to submit his letter of interest to the town in December. During the interview, he came across as thoughtful, experienced in budgets and knowledgeable about construction.

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video: town council forum

By Jim Stanford on October 19, 2012

Comments: 5 Comments

As promised, here is the video from Wednesday’s League of Women Voters forum for Jackson Town Council candidates. Many thanks again to Danny Holland and Sam Petri for volunteering to record and stream the event.

Owing to my lack of skill at video editing and desire to get this up quickly, I have posted the entire forum, introductions and all. Some of you might care to understand the format, which allotted candidates only 45 seconds to respond to questions after the first person answered. Plus, there are well deserved mentions of the organizers, a shout-out to Sandy Shuptrine (sidelined by surgery) and a few funny moments, if you know the characters.

For those looking to get to the issues quickly, skip to these segments:

10:12 — entertaining intro by Jake Nichols of JH Weekly
10:40 — first question, about proposed Walgreen’s on Broadway, whether candidates would support and/or approve it
16:40 — workforce housing/density
22:00 — wildlife crossings
27:33 — proposed purchase of Forest Service property on North Cache
33:15 — Jim Genzer’s lawsuit against the town over comprehensive plan
39:42 — transportation planning
45:00 — affordable housing (subject of today’s Daily story)
50:30 — role of government/ban on idling or plastic bags
55:45 — town budget
1:02:00 — which candidate would you vote for besides yourself
1:07:30 — closing statements

There are some stark differences among the candidates. Judge for yourselves.

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