Now that the ISOC Snocross event has been approved by a 3-1 vote by the Jackson Town Council, we now know what Mayor Pete Muldoon would have said if he had been able to attend the meeting.
In an email to a local constituent sent yesterday, Muldoon outlined a message that he wanted Jim Stanford to read at the meeting:
“I apologize for not being able to attend participate, and it’s unfortunate that this meeting had to be scheduled at the last minute because of a deadline that could have been easily avoided.
“I find it interesting that in all of the letters of support we have received, while there is near-unanimous shock from the business community that anyone could possibly be against this event, there is rarely even an acknowledgment that this might be disruptive and impactful to other residents. The applicant, by failing to carry out any meaningful public outreach among those who have been impacted and by not involving the public through its duly elected representatives, has shown no interest working with the community to make this event work but has, instead, resorted to brute force in numbers through pressure from those who stand to profit from the event and has, in my opinion, attempted to back this council into a corner by putting the responsibility to meet a deadline on us – a deadline created by the applicants own admitted failure to plan properly. I’m reminded of the sign we’ve all seen in offices across the country: “A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on ours.”
That is not how this process should work.
One letter writer asked what message we are sending with a denial. Sending a message was not the point. But if there is a message to be sent, it’s that this council is not a rubber stamp committee. The public has a right to be notified of impactful events, and to have a meaningful opportunity to weigh in on how to mitigate those impacts.
A business that had the community’s best interest in mind would honor that process and would involve the public at the earliest possible opportunity. Instead, the applicant began planning an event that would not only create large inconveniences to surrounding residents, but would take place on property owned by the public – and they chose not to seek input from either residents or the public at large until the 11th hour. The message I get from that is that the applicant doesn’t care what the public thinks, and that it views the community as an obstacle rather than a partner.
I want to address some of the other arguments:
“We have to do this to fill hotel beds” I believe the role of this council is to represent all residents of the town – business owners and residents alike. It does not mean blindly prioritizing business at the expense of residents – nor does it mean being opposed to all business. There must be a balance, and it’s our job to find that balance. And to do that job properly, we must take our time.
“We have to do this to keep the lifts running.” I do not believe it is the job of this council to ensure the profitability of particular businesses. We are not here to pick winner and losers. And Snow King is a business. It’s their job to remain profitable; it’s not the responsibility of their neighbors to put up with an endless parade of events so that SK can keep the lifts running. If the applicant truly believes (as i do) that SK is important to the community and that keeping the lifts running is a public good, they are welcome to form a non-profit organization and place the operation in it. But until they do, I don’t think it’s appropriate for this body to give them special consideration at the expense of their neighbors.
None of this means we should or shouldn’t permit this event at some point. But if we do, we should do it with proper public outreach, with a lengthy discussion of how to make it work within a residential neighborhood, and how to mitigate its impacts. Waiting until the last possible moment to involve the public after already advertising the event prior to its approval is a recipe for controversy and for dividing the public – which is precisely what has happened. I believe we have to honor that process, and I cannot support this event until we do that.”
The email was in response to the owner of a local public relations firm who said he opposed the event.