Northern South Park is on the agenda Monday. Again.

This time around, the Jackson Town Council and Teton County Board of County Commissioners are set to consider a possible delay in the ongoing neighborhood planning process. That’s on the table because Commissioners Greg Epstein and Mark Barron wanted to give an advisory committee of experts and landowners a role in the process before three alternatives — options for developing the area, essentially — are released to the public for comment and review.

The seven-member steering committee is advising the county and its consultant, Opticos Design Inc., on the neighborhood planning process. It includes Nikki Gill and Kelly Lockhart, representatives of the area’s two landowning families, and is intended to serve as a “sounding board” for the county and Opticos Design as they develop a neighborhood plan.

The rest of the County Commission agreed to consider the delay along with further expanding public engagement, a compromise Commission Chairwoman Natalia D. Macker proposed. She said she did not want to expand the timeline, but could if that option was included.

That direction effectively paused the public elements of the neighborhood planning process until a decision was reached. Now, the Town Council, which is partially funding the contract with Opticos Design, is set to weigh in alongside the county commission.

On Monday, the commission and council will be presented with two options.

One option would stay the course with the original contract and make no changes. The other would amend the contract, giving the steering committee the opportunity to weigh in on the alternatives before they go to the public, and creating a possible option for additional public input.

If the council and commission spring for the second option, the deal will not be sealed Monday. Instead, staff will have to bring a contract back to the County Commission for approval at a later meeting.

When the News&Guide originally wrote about the possible delay, steering committee members did not respond to requests for comment, including Gill and Lockhart.

But, after the article ran, one of its members, Scott Pierson, told the News&Guide that he didn’t feel like there should be a rush to change the process, unless the three alternatives presented were “flawed.”

“Unless there are real problems there is no need to change the contract or require more work by the consultants for a 10- to 14-day pause in the release,” he said in a text.

Contact Billy Arnold at 732-7063 or

Teton County Reporter

Previously the Scene editor, Billy Arnold made the switch to the county beat where he's interested in exploring Teton County as a model for the rest of the West. When he can, he still writes about art, music and whatever else suits his fancy.

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