Jackson Fork Ranch rezoning approved

Joe Ricketts sits inside the Lovatt Room during discussions on potential rezoning of his Jackson Fork Ranch on Tuesday. (Brady Oltmans photo

PINEDALE – It took a little more sweetening of the pot and Joe Ricketts himself answering questions inside the Pinedale Library’s Lovatt Room, but the Jackson Fork Ranch finally received rezoning approval to build a luxury guest ranch outside of Bondurant.

Following nearly three hours of discussion – coming after a four-and-a-half-hour Planning & Zoning Committee meeting – the Sublette County Board of Commissioners approved a rezoning request for Jackson Fork Ranch by a 3-2 vote during its Tuesday meeting. Nearly 100 people in person and as many as 70 watching online were largely left deflated by the news, as public reception to the project was energetically opposed.

Chair Joel Bousman and commissioners Sam White and Tom Noble, approved the rezoning in a motion. Commissioners Doug Vickrey and Dave Stephens opposed.

Bousman, a rancher who possibly served as the swing vote, said the five conditions to the rezoning (four self-imposed and one by Wyoming Game & Fish Department) were enough to satisfy his vote. Some of those conditions were added between the Planning & Zoning Committee meeting, where rezoning approval failed, and Tuesday afternoon.

Multi-billionaire Joe Ricketts joined Morgan Fischer, who has represented Jackson Fork Ranch since before the initial application for rezoning last summer, in answering questions from the public and commissioners. Together, they solved some of the concerns that came out of the most recent Planning & Zoning Committee meeting – where the Planning & Zoning Committee voted to deny the ranch's by a 3-2 vote.

Fischer presented the attempted rezoning, explaining why it appeared the way it did, with minor tweaks from that previous Planning & Zoning Committee. He once again said the rezone would pertain to more of a guest ranch than a conventional resort. Ricketts followed by talking about his intentions for the property. He also mentioned the historical roots of that ranch and listed his conservation accomplishments.

A multitude of environmental and economical concerns were voiced during the public comment portion of Tuesday’s meeting.

By the time a vote was made at 4:05 p.m., the crowd was left stunned by the news and left the Pinedale Library dejected.

This story was originally published at 4:18 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 7, and was updated at 9:31 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 8. It will be further updated to fully encompass the discussion.

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