JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Town council last night approved a connection to municipal sewer/water for the Jackson Hole Classical Academy despite the school’s location outside of town boundaries and ahead of the results of a study of the wastewater system’s capacity and rate structure, expected later this year.
With the exception of one holdout, councilmembers agreed that protection of the environment was more important than politics or jurisdiction.
“The reality is our groundwater will be better off if we are attaching to our sewer system and town water,” said Arne Jorgensen in voting for approval.
Jonathan Schechter agreed, stating, “…[B]etter to have it connected into municipal water and sewer than have a septic down there.”
But the council’s longest-tenured elected expressed resentment toward the school for the manner in which it was able to obtain development rights at a location in South Park.
“I think it’s been a lousy deal for the community,” Stanford said. “This school is being dropped in South Park without the open space trade-off that was proposed. I think it was lousy for the school backers to make an end-run around community zoning and years of community planning to do this in this manner.”
Stanford added that priority for wastewater hookup should be made for facilities that are physically located in town, adding, “[W]e’re under no obligation to provide the service.”
Town manager Larry Pardee assured councilors the wastewater plant could handle the addition flushes from the Academy. At an estimated 8,000 wastewater gallons per day currently (13,000 gallons at full buildout), the school would not move the needle much.
Pardee said the wastewater treatment plant can handle five million gallons a day with the highwater mark being around 3.15M gallons around the 4th of July every year. Therefore, school would not even be in session when the plant’s capabilities are historically stretched to the max.
Town council passed a motion to approve a Wastewater Treatment Facilities Connection and Use Agreement between the Town and JHCA by a vote of 4-1 with Stanford opposed.