- June 21, 2016

Downtown Rules Tweaked

by Jackson Hole Radio News

Planning rules for the downtown area of Jackson moved forward with some fine tuning last night.

Town officials took public comment on the proposed regulations, known as District 2, at the regular Town Council meeting last night.

Craig Benjamin from the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance spoke in favor of making a few changes in the proposal. Benjamin asked for a final ‘tweak’ before adoption of the measures. He told the council that in order to empower private sector housing solutions, short-term lodging use of market-rate residential units should be allowed.

Benjamin said the group was initially concerned about the short-term use, but after meeting with downtown businesses, their conclusion was that the use would provide incentive for affordable units in the zone.

The Alliance also supported a tool that would allow property owners to redevelop to existing standards.

“In order to protect property rights and to encourage redevelopment, we would encourage you to find an appropriate way to grandfather in existing buildings in District 2 that currently exceed the proposed base FAR (floor area ratio),” Benjamin said.

The council had earlier proposed to create a stakeholder group to observe and report to the town on the implementation of the plan, a move that impressed Jeff Golightly of the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, who said he looked forward to seeing their scope of work.

Councilmember Jim Stanford was opposed to allowing short-term rentals in the downtown core saying that without a tradeoff, “It would create an additional 1.1 to 2.4 million square feet of commercial development potential.”

Stanford proposed removing the lodging overlay from the north side of Snow King avenue, and he reminded the council that they took a vote to ty to remain as close to zero additional square feet of added commercial space as compared to the 1994 plan.

“You’re talking about a major increase in commercial lodging potential equivalent to, just in the downtown core, of 11 to 24 additional Marriot hotels”

Councilman Don Frank said he supported allowing redevelopment of grandfathered properties in the zone noting that the alternative was, “to petrify existing buildings.”

The council, except for Stanford, voted to make the changes in the regulations.