The County Commissioners passed the Northern South Park (NSP) land development regulations 4-1 on March 5.

Here are a few of our thoughts:

The opportunity in NSP has gotten radically, dramatically, better over the past four years. And that’s only because of YOU. The first proposal in 2020 was for hundreds of free-market homes and only 30-40 dedicated to locals (that’s 6-8%). With your help, we got to a Neighborhood Plan and LDRs with 70% of future homes dedicated to locals. That’s basically 10x better. THANK YOU.

We got some phasing. It’s a pretty “light” version of phasing, but the up-side is that it seems acceptable to the landowners. And even this light version of phasing will prevent the absolutely worst-case scenario we were all afraid of: full build-out of multi-million dollar free-market homes, while affordable construction stalls out.

We still believe in the best-case scenario. It’s up to our whole community to hold the County Commissioners, landowners, and deed-restricted developers accountable to their promise: to honor the vision of the Neighborhood Plan in the remaining steps of this project and leverage philanthropic dollars to deliver deed-restricted housing for locals in a timely and equitable manner.

We will continue to keep YOU involved in this project every step of the way — from masterplan proposals and approvals, to breaking ground and celebrating local Jacksonites moving into safe and affordable housing that enables them to build a life here into the future. Again, thank you for every comment letter, conversation with friends, and social media re-share along the way. If not for you, we wouldn’t have the opportunity we have today.


Northern South Park (NSP) encompasses over 200 acres of land on the southern edge of the Town of Jackson. The land is owned by two families: the Gills and the Lockharts. 


NSP is a potential site for new housing development that aligns with the vision of our Comprehensive Plan as it is close to transportation, schools, and other local amenities.

The Comprehensive Plan on NSP:

“This transitional subarea is identified as a possible location for future residential development at a similar density to the adjacent West Jackson Residential neighborhoods. While the priority of the community is to first infill and redevelop other already developed Stable/Transitional Subareas in order to meet the Growth Management goals of the Plan; if necessary, this subarea is a suitable location to meet those goals due to its close proximity to many existing Complete Neighborhood amenities. 

Should development of the area be needed in the future, it should be the subject of a neighborhood planning effort that addresses traffic congestion along High School Road. One possible option to be considered is a future east-west connector road between South Park Loop Road and Highway 89. An appropriate Flat Creek buffer will also need to be established in order to ensure the wildlife, natural and scenic values associated with this community resource are maintained.”


Throughout this process, we have advocated for our vision for Northern South Park: an inclusive, sustainable, and walkable neighborhood that reflects our community values. We want as much deed-restricted and income-linked housing included as possible in return for any increase in zoning (permission to build more homes, which increases value) that the landowners receive through the planning process. The questions are: what types of housing will be approved and how well will the Jackson community be served by the final development plan?

If NSP is our last good opportunity to build homes that locals can afford, we need to ensure that there is a meaningful net gain of homes for locals vs. luxury units when developing the entire area. We are excited to see the current proposal includes phasing and integration of free-market and deed-restricted units. We have confirmed that the community as a whole will benefit along with the landowners.

The Draft Plan represents a huge win for homes for locals. Ideally, we would see more density with a higher ratio of deed restricted homes to free-market homes, i.e. 75/25 (it is currently 70/30). We also want to see details about the breakdown of homes in the Affordable categories. It is important to clarify how many homes will be built in each of the Affordable categories (0-50% MFI, 50-80% MFI, and 80-120% MFI) to ensure we are serving the entire spectrum of the community.

Meanwhile, the Gill family has announced that they want to transfer 45 acres of land to Habitat for Humanity and the Housing Trust to fulfill the 70/30 split outlined in the Neighborhood Plan. While we fully support these two organizations, we have concerns about their ability to develop a variety of homes (i.e. rentals, ownership units, homes for seniors, homes for those with disabilities, etc.) quickly. The Commissioners have the same concerns, which is why the Commissioners have asked the Gills’ lawyer to draft a “backstop” idea to ensure homes for locals are built in tandem with free-market homes.

Overall, we are extremely excited about the idea to enable locals to call Northern South Park home, and appreciative of the efforts of the Gill Family, Habitat for Humanity and the Housing Trust to work on this project, and to the Commissioners for dedicating years to making sure we get this right.


Now that the LDRs have passed, we are in a holding pattern until one of the landowners submits a Master Site Plan to develop the area. If and when this submission is made, we will be there and remain vigilant throughout the process to make sure landowners, developers, and non-profit partners alike hold firm to the promises that they made to the community.


What is the history of the land in NSP?

Before 1800, native tribes were the only people who spent time in what we now call Jackson Hole. The tribes who frequented this region include the Shoshoni, Crow, Blackfeet, Bannock, and Gros Ventre. Stephen Leek received the land in the Porter estate at no charge through the Homestead Act, which was passed in 1862. Stephen Leek was also involved in one of the last massacres of native people in this region at the confluence of the Hoback River and Granite Creek in 1895. Stephen Leek homesteaded the land until he sold this land to Bruce Porter.

Who are the Gills and Lockharts?

The Gill family is a ranching family in Jackson Hole who operates the Hereford Ranch in Northern South Park (NSP). Robert “Bruce” Porter started the ranch in 1928 and purchased the NSP location in the 1930s. Ralph Gill, his son, took over the ranch in 1961 and Robert Gill took over in 1994 and still runs the ranch today. Robert Gill is married to Patti Gill, and they have multiple children.

The Porter estate was split between the Gill and Lockhart families in the early 2010s. The Gills and the Lockharts are related: Kelly Lockhart is married to Robert Gill’s sister, Elizabeth.

The Gill and Lockhart families currently own ranching operations, significant acreage in South Park beyond the land in NSP, and many valuable commercial properties and businesses downtown like the Teton Theater and Jackson Drug.


Stay tuned for updates about next actionable steps!


What about private property rights?

“Property rights” means that the landowners can build what is already allowed. Right now, the majority of NSP has rural zoning, which allows one home for every 35 acres. There is also a 26-acre parcel in the northwest corner on Gill land which is zoned Suburban. A sketch plan for 84 free-market multi-million dollar homes has already been approved for that parcel.

Any zoning change that adds density to the rural NSP land represents an increase in value for the landowners. With added density, landowners can sell more parcels and build more homes, which translates into tens to hundreds of millions of added profit (depending on the zone change) for the landowners. Landowners are in no way entitled to increased zoning. We want to ensure that there is a reasonable community benefit in return for potential massive profit margins for the landowners in NSP.

Taken from the Draft NSP Plan

Have the Gills and Lockharts paid property taxes on NSP?

Property taxes are based on how the land is used. The land in NSP is currently zoned as agricultural and is therefore taxed at a very low rate. If the zoning changes to accommodate residential development, the homeowners will be responsible for paying property taxes based on the new zoning, which are substantially higher than agricultural use taxes.

For example, the Gills have paid about $2,300 on one 37-acre parcel bordering High School Road over the last ten years. As a comparison, a single-family homeowner in the Rangeview neighborhood would have paid about $35,000 during the same time period.

What about the Gills’ proposed donation to local non-profits Habitat for Humanity and the Housing Trust?

Recently, Nikki Gill announced that her family was willing to donate 45 acres of land to our local Habitat for Humanity and the Jackson Hole Community Housing Trust. We are waiting to see how this donation would be used to build homes for locals, as the land transfer is not under contract as of yet. While both of these groups offer great benefits to the community, neither has developed a parcel of this size. In addition, both groups have historically produced ownership homes. We want to make sure there are a variety of housing options developed quickly for the entire spectrum of our community members.



  • Mid-May 2020: Gills submit upzone application to Teton County
    • We submitted a letter asking the Commissioners to deny the Gills’ upzone proposal because there were no meaningful deed restrictions included in the application.
  • 8/24: County Planning Commission votes 4-1 to recommend denial of Gill upzone application
  • 9/15: County Commission meets to discuss Gill proposal
  • 9/28: County Commission votes to deny Gill upzone request
    • Voted for denial: Propst, Newcomb, Epstein, Macker
    • Voted for approval: Barron
  • 11/8: NSP Steering Committee and Stakeholder Group applications due
    • These groups were created to give the public additional opportunities to weigh in during the planning process.
    • The Steering Committee has five members of the public, plus one representative from each of the landowners’ families. This group meets intermittently with County planners and consultants to give their opinions.
    • The Stakeholder group is pretty broad and members fill out surveys periodically.


  • 1/19/2021: Call to Action for members to submit comments re: NSP Steering Committee transparency
    • At first, the NSP Steering Committee meetings were going to be closed to the public. We had concerns about transparency, so we activated our members to write in asking for public meetings. We wrote our own letter to the County Commissioners as well.
  • March: Gills run a bill at the state to override local control of sewer connections
  • 3/2: suburban sketch plan is approved 4-1 with Luther opposed
    • The Gills have some legacy zoning for single-family free-market homes in the northwest corner of NSP. The Gills submitted a sketch plan for this development to the Commission. We submitted a letter asking that the Commissioners deny this sketch plan and wait to incorporate the homes into the broader planning process of NSP.
    • Voted for approval: Barron, Newcomb, Epstein, Macker
    • Voted for denial: Propst
  • 3/10: Community workshops on NSP with Opticos consultants
  • April: Commissioners vote multiple times to keep Steering Committee meetings open to the public
  • 4/15-16: NSP Steering Committee meetings to discuss the Neighborhood Plan
  • 8/19: Consultants release alternatives at the High School, hold an open house
  • 9/2: Virtual NSP comment workshop held by ShelterJH


  • 1/13/22: Virtual Steering Committee on Phase 1 of the draft Preferred Plan from NSP consultants
  • 2/28: County Commission Workshop on NSP
  • 3/3: The Gills submit a preapplication letter to move forward with developing their original 26 acres of Suburban-zoned land on the northwest corner of Northern South Park
  • 3/7: The BCC approves extending the Opticos contract to incorporate the Gills’ 45-acre “donation” into the Neighborhood Plan
  • 4/21: The NSP Draft Plan is released: the high-level plan includes direction to phase the building of free-market and deed-restricted homes; integrate different kinds of units; and have a breakdown of 30% free-market to 70% deed-restricted homes in the overall development (excluding the existing suburban-zoned land on Gill and Lockhart land).
  • 6/7: The County Commissioners vote to approve the Draft Plan


  • 5/15/23: The County Commissioners direct staff to incorporate phasing into LDRs
  • 5/19: Commissioners ask developers to come up with an idea for a “backstop” in case deed-restricted homes are not developed quickly
  • 10/11: Draft LDRs released; review and comment here
  • 11/13: County Planning Commission reviews draft LDRs; information here
  • 11/27: Second County Planning Commission meeting to review LDRs—12 ShelterJH members showed up to comment! Watch the comment here starting around minute 59
  • 12/11: Third Planning Commission meeting to review public comment and draft LDRs; straw poll showed that Commissioners would not support strengthening LDRs regarding integration and phasing; but the Commission will have one new member in 2024 (the Commissioner leaving the group is one of the votes against strengthening the LDRs, so we could have a different outcome with the different Commission)
  • 1/8: The County Planning Commission voted to recommend denial of the NSP LDRs to the County Commission, citing how the LDRs do not guarantee the construction of deed-restricted homes
  • 2/27: The County Commission held a special meeting to receive public comment on NSP
  • 3/5: The County Commission approved the NSP LDRs
  • 3/7: Habitat for Humanity receives a $15 million pledge from the Hughes Charitable Foundation

Last updated 3/27/24