A pilot program will let government entities and local businesses rent 20 spaces for their employees to camp in the parking lot north of the Recreation Center. There will be no hookups for electricity, water or sewage.

The Jackson Town Council is hurrying through ordinance readings to permit overnight parking in hope of creating a car camping site for employees behind the Recreation Center by June 19.

As written the ordinance would allow car camping only “with a special event permit, approval from the Jackson Town Council or with a permit issued under the town of Jackson Land Development Regulations.”

With three public readings needed to enact the rule, the council unanimously approved it at first reading Monday night and called a special meeting Tuesday afternoon for a second reading. The third and final reading is expected June 19, unless another special meeting is scheduled in advance.

“This is an experiment,” Town Manager Bob McLaurin said. “We think it will go well, and I’m sure we’ll have to adjust a little bit, but if it’s an unmitigated disaster we’ll pull the plug on it.”

While the ordinance is written in relatively broad terms, specifying only the need for council approval, the only site the council is considering for overnight car camping is 20 spots behind the Teton County/Jackson Recreation Center.

Designed as a pilot program to investigate the need for and viability of a municipal campground, the 20-space campground will be closely monitored to see if a larger one could be set up in future years.

Should the proposal be expanded a broad ordinance should provide the council some flexibility.

To ensure the 20 overnight parking spaces are used only by locally employed residents, permits will be sold to employers, not individuals.

Six of the 20 spaces will be reserved for town and county employees: five to Teton County/Jackson Parks and Recreation employees and one a Teton County Library employee is interested in occupying.

“The idea is that the permit holder would be a business, not necessarily an individual camping,” Parks and Rec Director Steve Ashworth told the council at a previous meeting. “That way, in case an employee is working for two to three weeks and is just hanging out for the rest of summer, ownership of the permit would revert back to the employer for that replacement position.”

Overnight parking will be allowed for permitted employee from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. From June 19 to June 30 campers will pay $225 a space. For the months of August and July a permit costs $465 a spot each month. From Sept. 1 to Sept. 4 a spot will cost $60.

Unlike previous iterations of the proposal there will be no hookups for electricity, water or sewage. The only amenities are two port-a-potties and a dumpster.

No tents or disconnected trailers will be allowed. Open fires, awnings, pets, smoking and self-powered generators are also prohibited, and all activities including sleeping, sitting, cooking, washing and eating must be contained within a vehicle.

Campers will be allowed to use picnic tables in the Home Ranch parking lot, which Parks and Rec may add more of, and are encouraged to buy monthly passes to the Rec Center for showering.

To prevent rowdy behavior the town reserved the right to make additional rules any time throughout the summer.

Contact John Spina at 732-5911, or @JHNGtown.

Cody Cottier covers town and state government. He grew up with a view of the Olympic Mountains, and after graduating Washington State University he traded it for a view of the Tetons. Odds are the mountains are where you’ll find him when not on deadline.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Please note: Online comments may also run in our print publications.
Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Please turn off your CAPS LOCK.
No personal attacks. Discuss issues & opinions rather than denigrating someone with an opposing view.
No political attacks. Refrain from using negative slang when identifying political parties.
Be truthful. Don’t knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be proactive. Use the “Report” link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with us. We’d love to hear eyewitness accounts or history behind an article.
Use your real name: Anonymous commenting is not allowed.