Downtown zoning rules are up for a vote at tonight’s Jackson Town Council meeting.
The contentious issue has gone on a rollercoaster ride for over a year as commercial uses and square footage are being regulated.
Earlier in the year, councilors voted to strip additional square footage for commercial uses and keep the level at the cap that existed in the 1994 comprehensive plan. They added bonus floor area for deed-restricted affordable housing.
While some community activist groups applauded, many property owners cried foul and said redevelopment would be stifled and the affordable housing would never materialize.
At the last hearing on the downtown zone, known as District 2, the council made changes that supported redevelopment of non-conforming buildings and the ability to rent non-restricted condos on the short-term market.
Initially, this plan was met with the approval of the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance when it’s Executive Director said he liked the idea.
Craig Benjamin told the council, “Do include short-term rentals as part of the workforce housing incentive program.”
A few days later, Benjamin reversed himself. In a memo to Alliance board members he wrote, “Here’s the thing, since making this quick decision, we have dug further into this issue and discovered a significant unintended consequence. The net impact to the community could be as large as 1.2-2.4 million square feet of additional lodging or ‘non-residential’ use.”
The group is now urging the council to take back its vote.
So, too, is the group Save Historic Jackson Hole. In a public letter, SHJH laid blame on the Alliance, saying that the Mayor was “approached by a turncoat organization that once led the charge to house people rather than build Marriott’s.” “People want a livable community,” the letter adds, “You need to fix this at your July 5 meeting.”
The meeting is at 6pm.