Top Stories March 20, 2018

Town To Raise Cost Of Commercial Development

by Jackson Hole. Media


The Town and the County have released the new Housing Requirements and Town Zoning & Parking: Districts 3-6 Drafts for public review. Both projects are part of a larger series of updates called the Engage 2017: Housing, Parking, and Natural Resource Updates.

Both the Housing Requirements and the Town Zoning & Parking Updates are intended to provide more workforce housing in the community. The new regulations focus on workforce housing because a local workforce has significant benefits for the community:

  • Workers who live locally have more time to volunteer during their personal time, spend money in our community, and participate in community events like Old Bill’s Fun Run.
  • Nurses, policemen, teachers, and other critical service providers who live locally can still make it to work during road closures and weather events that impact common commuting routes.
  • Fewer workers commuting means fewer cars on the road and less traffic, fewer CO2 emissions, and fewer collisions with wildlife.

The Housing Requirements Update changes how much deed-restricted housing a developer provides as part of a new development. Since 1995, when Housing Requirements were first implemented in our community, prices of homes have grown to cost 4 times what the average family can afford. As a result, only about 15% of today’s households can afford market housing. The new Housing Requirement regulations will bring existing housing requirements up to date with the community’s current affordability needs and work to house the other 85% of households who need assistance to live in our community.

The new Housing Requirements include the following major updates:

1) Housing mitigation requirements will increase to meet the community’s current need for

workforce housing.

2) All types of development – residential, commercial, lodging, and institutional – will be required to provide housing according to the number of full-time employees they generate. The old requirements only required residential development to house full-time employees.

3) Housing Requirements will be used only to house full-time, year-round employees. Housing for seasonal employees will be achieved through market solutions.

The anticipated effects of these proposed changes include:

  • The cost of multi-unit residential development will go down, resulting in development of more workforce housing.
  • The cost of single-family residential development will stay the same.
  • The cost of commercial, lodging, and institutional development will go up, consistent with the community’s view that providing employee housing should be part of the cost of doing business in our community.

The Town Zoning & Parking Updates will update regulations in most areas of Town (all areas except for the Town Square and the business/industrial park near Gregory Lane) to:

  • Create opportunities for workforce housing.
  • Better manage the location and impacts of development by incentivizing more residential development in areas where people have easier access to jobs, services, and infrastructure.
  • Protect the status-quo in neighborhoods that traditionally have had a stable character.

The new Town Zoning & Parking Regulations provide affordable housing opportunities by allocating up to 1800 workforce housing units in Town. The new regulations concentrate most of these units in the Town residential core (between Willow St. and the Rodeo Grounds) and near the “Y” along Highway 22/89. Future residents will have easy access to jobs and services in both areas.

While the Town Zoning & Parking Updates add more workforce housing to the Town, they are not increasing residential growth or total buildout in the community (Teton County and the Town of Jackson). In 2015, the County undertook a process to downzone many rural areas, ultimately removing the potential to build roughly 2300 units in areas of habitat and scenery. The Town Zoning & Parking Updates are the second phase of this process, in which some portion of those units will be allocated to the Town. What is not allocated to the Town will be allocated in other community hubs around the County. The purpose of this two-step process is to protect open spaces for wildlife and to concentrate people near jobs and services, reducing our impact on the local environment and working to preserve the unique character of the community.

The Board of County Commissioners and the Town Council will review both the Housing Requirements and Town Zoning & Parking draft regulations at upcoming Public Meetings, the first of these being Monday, March 19 at 2 pm before the Board of County Commissioners and the Town Council at the Town Hall. A full schedule of these meetings can be found at The Town and the County are also holding a Public Comment Event on April 12, 6 pm – 8:30 pm at the Snow King Grand View Lodge to answer questions and solicit feedback from the public on the new draft regulations.

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