Jackson Hole, WY News

The foundation for Jackson’s next housing project is laid, with two lots on West Kelly set aside for affordable and workforce units.

The county paid $1.7 million to attorney Michael Clement and Linda Clement on Thursday for the property, and the town will reimburse 45 percent. Both lots — which will be transferred to the Jackson/Teton County Housing Authority — are zoned at the highest level, NH-1, which enables a bonus that allows developers additional density in exchange for building workforce housing.

“We kind of get the most bang for our buck,” Housing Director April Norton said.

The project, located at 440 W. Kelly Avenue, will likely provide at least 10 units. Norton said she expects they will be a mix of affordable housing, designated for lower-income residents of Teton County, and housing restricted for local workers.

A special meeting of the Town Council and Teton County Board of County Commissioners to discuss a request for proposals is set for Jan. 29. If both approve the request, Norton said it will be released Feb. 5.

“My hope,” she said, “is we will go from purchasing the property to actually welcoming homeowners in 18 months.”

She said she expects parking requirements to be the biggest question for elected officials. Essentially, stricter parking requirements equals less housing.

At the 174 N. King Street housing project — the first in which the town offered land in exchange for an affordable housing project, and, therefore, the precedent for this one — officials asked developers for a response that met all parking requirements, but allowed another that offered alternative parking solutions.

Norton said the additional response took a lot of time and energy for the developers, and she will suggest that the officials select a minimum requirement at the outset.

Under the zoning NH-1, developers receive extra height and density if they build 1 square foot of deed-restricted housing for every 2 feet of market-rate space, boosting their profit and building more workforce housing.

“Our purpose is sort of twofold,” Norton said. “One is to get a project going ASAP. But two, that’s a newly rezoned area, so being able to show people how to develop in that zone, and sort of setting the tone.”

The NH-1 zoning is new as of summer, when the council enacted a fresh set of land development regulations for much of Jackson, with the goal of absorbing housing from the county. High-density areas like this are one solution to fitting that development potential in town and preserving its rural surroundings.

This will be the first housing project on an NH-1 property, but the town owns other lots that are zoned similarly. Norton said this will give the town an idea of what to expect from development proposals on the others.

Norton said the Housing Authority also plans to release a request for proposals in February for another project at 105 Mercill Avenue, which Teton County owns.

According to the Housing Supply Plan, two more properties are slated for planning and development later in the year: county-owned land at Jackson Street and Kelly Avenue, and town-owned land at Karns Meadow.

Contact Cody Cottier at 732-5911, town@jhnewsandguide.com or @JHNGtown.

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(18) comments

Dave Valley

RE: Chuck Christopher Jan 17, 2019 10:30am

"Dave , most of that tax money is already spoken for, there is no "massive tax revenue" for affordable housing. This is a bad idea that just gets worse the more you lie about it.”

Yes, our money is indeed already spoken for — for affordable housing. The government just purchased land. Look around at the almost-1000 'affordable' units in Teton County. The lie is on your part if you think we don't get massive tax revenue in Teton County. It can be spent on affordable housing or whatever.

Our government spends massive sums on non-essential services: Teton County Parks & Rec, etc. We provide a very high level of services to residents that other communities could only dream of. We don't even collect all the sales taxes we are entitled to collect. There is plenty of other money floating around for affordable housing if we want to collect & spend it on AH.

I can understand if you don't want the working class folks living in Jackson. That's a common theme of wealthy residents and developers who are ticked off at paying extraction fees, or wanting to protect their view shed/property values.

If you hate the working class, so be it. If you hate the idea that people who make this town run might want to live here, so be it. If you hate the idea that the government serves its taxpaying residents, so be it. If you hate the idea that those residents can petition their government or shape it to meet their needs, go to China. You'll be at home there.

I like a free market approach but I am open to the idea that the govt. is for the people, of the people, and by the people. It doesn't just service the wealthy already-spoiled residents of Teton County.

Tim Rieser

Communism? You’re kidding, right? Do you have even the tiniest idea of what communism is? Let me answer that: no.

Chad guenter

If someone has between 300 to 400,000 dollar budget here are currently 5, 1 bedroom 600+/- sq ft apartments for sale in the greater Jackson Hole area.

This bid by the county is an attempt by the Master class to keep the slaves content.

A truly disgusting hole Teton county has put itself in over the last 25 years.

Chuck Christopher

When you deed restrict the property you never let the owner make a profit. It is a way for the rich people to keep the poor people poor. These projects are BS

Dave Valley

Ignoring 'affordable' apartments:

The purpose of the 'affordable' housing program isn't to provide you with a profit. Go buy your own home at market rates with your own money if you want to play that game. The purpose of affordable housing is to allow you to live here while you're providing our community with some value in return.

If I remember correctly, we now permit the owners of 'affordable' homes to rent out a bedroom in their home if they have a spare bedroom so some homeowners could make a profit to some degree (misguided idea IMO: profit, not renting). And some affordable homeowners do indeed get to sell their homes at market rates (another terrible idea IMO). See this JHN&G story: https://www.jhnewsandguide.com/news/town_county/article_3755e478-6ea8-58b0-be32-7f8869ae8532.html

Every owner of an 'affordable' home pretty much gets their mortgage payments back if they sell their home and are fully vested as owners. They also get a mortgage interest tax deduction. Renters get neither. The affordable housing program is a HUGE public subsidy to those select homeowners. It also has many other problems which I won't tackle here, today.

Chuck Christopher

Dave really ? You say "The purpose of affordable housing is to allow you to live here while you're providing our community with some value in return" this is just a way to keep survants and have tax payers pay for it.

Dave Valley

"keep servants and have tax payers pay for it"

That's ONE of the 'values' that is returned to the community. Or at least it's one way of looking at it. Most of our real servants are living out of dorm rooms or sharing bedrooms. They are not in taxpayer subsidized housing. The lowest paid among us can't afford the subsidized affordable housing.

Taxes, extractions, donations, and grants pay for the subsidized housing programs. I find, more often than not, that the people who complain the loudest about paying "taxes" or 'extractions' for the program are usually the ones who benefit the most from the "servants".

Since I'm here writing, I will point out a possible flaw in our regulations: Electrical Wholesale (off South Park Rd) has had an empty apartment about its store for 13 years (??). I will assume, but I don't know, that they were required to include housing or pay a fee toward subsidized housing when they built their building. If true, it highlights one of the many flaws in our regulations.

Dave Valley

Correction: "empty apartment about its store for 13 years" SHOULD be ....ABOVE its store for 13 years..

Chuck Christopher

What the **** are you babbling about ? I read that twice and I have no idea what you are talking about. Have you been drinking ?

Dave Valley

I know it's a difficult concept to understand. Let's try to make it easier.

Taxpayers pay to house the employees of private companies. Sounds crazy. I know. However, employees of private companies (servants) help generate the sales taxes needed to fund local government. Those employees provide our community with a value: massive tax revenue. In return for helping generate all those tax dollars, we give the employees the opportunity to live here. Most of the taxes collected locally come from visitors, not local taxpayers. So visitors are paying to house the people who service them, and service us. Essentially, employees are providing housing for themselves by generating the tax revenue used to build housing. It's not exactly a public handout of you're helping to pay for it. The government represents all of the people and not just the trustfunders, so the working class can demand something in exchange for all the tax revenue it helps to generate.

Keep in mind that people who live in Victor or Alpine don't see any real benefits from the tax dollars they help generate in Teton County, WY. We steal some value from their labor to enrich ourselves. It is one reason why we can justify a subsidized bus service to Alpine, etc.

Obviously, we could make everyone commute, employers could house their own employees, and employees could try the free market approach. We would end up with far more visa workers in dorm rooms, lots more traffic, and an unstable working class population on Jackson. If that is what you prefer, so be it.

I personally think the free market approach is the best approach but that would include changes to land-use regulations, LDR's, zoning, etc. Stop favoring the wealthy, the NIMBY's, and the over-the-top zealous conservationists (things that would probably never happen).

As for the apartment above Electrical Wholesale, it has sat empty for 13 years. If the city made them build it to address local housing needs, it just proves that the city's regulations have failed in that regard.

Chuck Christopher

Dave , most of that tax money is already spoken for, there is no "massive tax revenue" for affordable housing. This is a bad idea that just gets worse the more you lie about it.

Dave Valley

Local government's job is to represent the people who they serve. If the people want subsidized housing for whatever reason, they have the right to petition for it. The role of government in a ski town is no different than the role of government in a big city.

Public housing for public employees is a good investment if you demand public services. We provide federal housing for federal employees in GTNP. Same for public employees with state and local government. Publicly-subsidized housing for the elderly or disabled reflects our basic decency. Public housing provided by the government for the able-bodied-anybody is indeed a questionable activity.

Having said that, when the government has created an enviroment (land-use policies, tax laws, regulations, etc) that favors one group over another (another questionable activity) then the injustice created by those actions may need a redress by the government.

For example, we have regulations that prevent tiny homes on tiny lots. The real result of such rules is that we only allow the wealthy to provide for themselves via our land-use policies in Teton County.

The obvious problem with public housing for anyone is that we still play favorites for a lucky few. It is simply not sustainable and it creates more demand for more housing. It is also a handout to the business community which often refuses to pay living wages or house their own employees. Why subsidize them? Perhaps, for some of them, because they generate significant sales-tax revenue for the Town of Jackson. Do those who complain about building 'affordable housing' generate sales taxes to the same degree? Got me.

Our future will be roads full of 1000's of more commuters from Drictor/Alpine. WYDOT is betting on it. Same with the START bus. Same with local government. Those areas are better places to build affordable housing (especially now) if affordable housing is going to be built, IMO.

Our other future will be more dorm rooms and far more visa workers. Not everyone will be as generous as Joe Rice to build a 90-unit apartment building for workers. He actions don't prove that the private sector can manage private development of affordable housing but it looks promising.

Chad guenter

Nothing like Govt. subsidized housing to further destroy the real estate market of Teton county for the middle class.

Dave Valley

How does it "destroy the real estate market of Teton County for the middle class" ?? I didn't know we even had a real estate market for the middle class. That's news.

And is it governments place to regulate the marketplace to favor one class of people over the other?

John Sinson

Is this the role of government in a world class ski town? To build housing projects at a ski resort? Don't put it next to me. See public housing in any big city for reference to impact.

Cody Brinton

Communism at its finest--

Dave Valley

Communism? Communism is sometimes defined by the absence of social classes. Like a Jackson Hole absent of all classes except a Capitalist Class.

Christopher Clabuesch

long live 440 W Kelly ... if those walls could talk, you wouldn't want to listen.

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