Repeal of Park County Growth Policy Edges Closer to Qualifying for the June 2024 Ballot

Anne Hallowell’s initiative to repeal Park County’s 2017 Growth Policy requires 1,067 valid signatures from voters in rural Park County (that is, voters who don’t live in Livingston or Clyde Park) to qualify to be on the June 2024 ballot.  The deadline for submitting those signatures is September 20.

As of September 8, Hallowell and her supporters had submitted 1,155 signatures of which 906 were accepted as valid, 200 were rejected.  (Other petition sheets were blank or not otherwise accepted.) An additional seventy-one signatures were under review.

Interestingly, seventeen signatures had been withdrawn. Withdrawal of a signature can be done by downloading a form from the Park County Elections website, which is signed and notarized.  No reason need be given to withdraw a signature but perhaps we will hear from the person, or other persons in the future, about their reasons.

The Vision for Park County in the Growth Policy is a good one – why would voters reject it?

Here is a key excerpt from the County Vision in the Growth Policy:

Park County is a place where the natural environment is a source of economic diversity and jobs, and provides tranquility, beautiful scenery and a unique way of life that attracts people here to call Park County home.

Repealing the Growth Policy is a repudiation of this vision for Park County. Our polling, and polls by other organizations, show that Park County voters support this vision – as well as planning and sensible land regulations needed to realize it.

Repealing the Growth Policy gives even more power to developers to decide our future – without giving us any say.

If our Growth Policy is repealed, developers will be free to build what they want, where they want, without having to address the many good policies and principles in the Growth Policy, like these:

Park County encourages protection of open lands, agricultural lands, wildlife habitat, scenic views and other natural amenities through voluntary conservation easements in suitable areas.

Park County supports the development of affordable and workforce housing.

Water is a basic necessity of life and is critical for the growth and development of the county. As growth and development occurs, it will be important to …to protect existing users and water quality.

…ensure new subdivisions pay a proportional share of their impact when upgrading County roads to meet County standards.

The 2017 Growth Policy was based on extensive public input. The repeal effort is sour grapes by some people who didn’t get their way.

The Growth Policy was developed with the benefit of testimony at many public meetings and hearings, after notices of those meetings were published in The Livingston Enterprise. The process also included stakeholder interviews and an online survey.  You can read about the public engagement along with 78 pages of public comments in Appendix B of the Growth Policy.

The other Hallowell initiative petition: Voter approval required for all future Growth Policies

Hallowell is circulating a separate initiative petition that would require voters to approve all future Growth Policies.  The deadline for signatures on that initiative is October 16.

As of September 8, 816 signatures had been submitted and 655 had been accepted.