PROPS & DISSES: (Sub)Divided we fall

By on March 26, 2013

(Sub)Divided we fall – DISS

I am livid. I try not to write out of anger because it can result in angry readers. But readers should be angry with this.

A petition is going around that, like any good Chicagoan, I signed three times – once each for my dead grandmothers. The appeal comes from a group calling themselves “Don’t Subdivide the Greys River,” dedicated to fighting a proposed residential development called BlindBull Meadows. That’s right, a subdivision in the heart of the Greys River drainage that would include a gated community of 29 proposed homes, a dozen more log cabins, a convenience store, paved roads, manmade ponds, and an airport converted from an existing grown-over grassy strip.

Is nothing sacred anymore? Is there no place out of bounds to money-grubbing real estate developers? One would think the national forest would be a place where there might be some assurance of stumbling upon a pristine meadow or hidden mountain lake instead of a heated squash court or a perfectly manicured koi pond.

The circulated petition incorrectly identifies the Bridger Teton National Forest inholding as the Box Y Ranch. The area slated for development is actually a 73-acre slice of private property adjacent to Deadman Ranch. Locals refer to it as the Old Young Place. Rex and Diane Young still own five acres of the original 160-acre ranch homesteaded by James Moffat in 1912. The remainder is listed under a confusing batch of LLCs including Bucato (Steve Bushman), Deadman Ranch (Dan Schwab), Greys River Ranch and Greyback Ranch.


BlindBull Meadows artist rendering

According to a financial prospectus discovered by JH Weekly, eight potential investors have already expressed interest in buying lots at the proposed ranches. A pro forma listed one “exit strategy” as, “A full twin home subdivision has been planned … 32 twin homes will be shared between 10 clients per home. The project will gross approximately $30 million,” it read.

Lincoln County planning director John Woodward confirmed the proposal saying that the recreational zoning the property is under allows for as much as one unit per acre density. Schwab is proposing 2.4 acres per unit density. A commercial store not more than 5,000 square feet also is permissible under the current zoning. The county would have little to no control over the use of the landing strip. Woodward said that existed prior to county land use management and is grandfathered in.

Bridger-Teton spokesperson Eric O’Conner said the U.S. Forest Service has no say in what private property holders within their forests want to do and would never interfere with their rights. However, BTNF staff has identified a serious wildfire risk to any development in the Deadman Ranch region. In response, Mark Nicoll, project manager for BlindBull Meadows, has assured county planners that homeowners will be required to install sprinkler protection.

Anyone who has ever recreated anywhere along Greys River Road knows what a special place it is. It is not the most remote region in the state. But it is a unique 60-mile run between the Salt River and Wyoming ranges – full of wildlife and rich with sheep-herding and mining history. It supports anglers, hunters, campers and hikers looking to get away from it all.

As it is, traffic in Greys River is quite heavy in the summer. RVs and other rigs pound the road into a washboard nightmare. A 2004 Forest Service report warned that growing recreational use was taking its toll back then. A subdivision 25 miles in will only exacerbate the problem of overuse. It’s ludicrous to even entertain such an idea.

The developer is within his rights to move forward. It is conceivable he could add another 37 acres of Deadman LLC and double the total number of units someday. Signing the petition ( and emails to Woodward ( may carry some weight. The first planning and zoning meeting for the development has been pushed back to April 24 because Schwab does not yet have DEQ approval, according to Woodward. It also has been moved from Afton to the Cokeville Town Hall.

Electroshock therapy – DISS

Always desirous to appear “green,” the Town of Jackson is being urged by JH Energy Sustainability Project to install free charging stations for electric cars at four locations in town. Because, after all, electric cars are so chic, so sexy … and so filthy.

Bjorn Lomborg’s recent opinion piece (“Green Cars Have a Dirty Little Secret”) in the Wall Street Journal is just the latest in a series of pushback reporting being done by anyone who cares to look a little deeper into Obama’s promises.

Zero emissions? No such thing, says Lomborg, author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist.” For starters, carbon-dioxide emissions generated in the production of the car are significant – mostly because of the battery. When an electric car rolls off the production line, Lomborg writes, it has already been responsible for 30,000 pounds of carbon-dioxide emission – more than twice that of a conventional gas-powered vehicle.

And what about charging the rig? Where do you think electricity comes from? In Wyoming, it’s more than likely generated from coal-burning plants. Nice.

Lomborg further trashes the electric car saying the battery is shot after five years and consumers need to drive their electrocar at least 50,000 miles before it begins outperforming a fuel-burner in regards to emissions savings. Most have trouble putting that many miles on cars that are usually used for short, in-town excursions because of their limited range on a charge.

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