Downtown Zoning Will Come With Close Monitoring

The long-debated downtown planning and zoning regulations were voted on by the Town Council last night.

The rules, known as District 2, will move forward with reduced commercial square footage and a committee to help the town address the issues of how the square footage will be utilized.

Planning director Tyler Sinclair laid out the new rules which, he said, would incentivize housing in the downtown core.

Jeff Golightly of the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce praised parts of the plan that streamlined the development process, increased height, and reduced parking. But Golightly said he worried the proposal would not provide much housing and cause sprawl. He said that under the proposal, only 18% of potential development in the entire county would be downtown, “The other 82% will occur somewhere else,” he said.

“Imagine a circumstance where a landowner has a building that is larger today, with no housing, than would be allowed in the future. He would have to scrape a building and rebuild a much smaller building to put workforce housing on top of it,” he said noting that that would not incentivize redevelopment.

Former Mayor Mark Barron said, “My building exceeds the FAR. It’s been there for probably 60 years. It won’t be changing. It won’t be having a second or third story of housing above it as it could if the building could be replaced square footage for square footage.”

Mayor Sara Flitner said she supported a diverse stakeholder group to assure the business community that they were serious about working on things in the plan that may not work.

Councilor Don Frank said he thought it was important that the council be able to make changes if the regulations are not delivering intended results. “Time is as valuable as money,” Frank said, “if we are going to get no housing produced, we better do a course correction very quickly.” Frank advocated for the stakeholder group and close monitoring of the results.

 

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