Teton County planning commissioners voted to scale back updates to the Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club’s master plan Tuesday, after hearing a litany of concerns from neighbors.
The club has been seeking changes to what’s allowed on its 6.3-acre employee housing and golf maintenance site since about 2015.
The proposal has evolved from a request for 13 RV pads for seasonal employees to a request to add second stories to entitled maintenance buildings allowing 11,000 additional square feet of employee apartments or dorms. The resort is also asking the county to add six RV pads, allowances for a cell tower, and permission to share the site with broader Grand Teton Lodge Company employee housing and operations.
Golf and Tennis is a golf course resort north of town, surrounded by private residential neighborhoods. It’s managed by Grand Teton Lodge Company, the primary in-park concessionaire in Grand Teton National Park, which is owned by Vail Resorts, an international mountain resort company.
Grand Teton Lodge Company Vice President Alex Klein made the case that housing for an additional 42 employees would help address the community’s workforce housing shortage and reduce traffic by locating employees up north, closer to where they work.
“What we are trying to do today is house significantly more employees on-site at Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis than was originally contemplated in the master plan,” Klein said.
Adding “synergies” between Golf and Tennis and Grand Teton Lodge Company operations would also reduce traffic inefficiencies, Klein said, as Golf and Tennis is closer to in-park operations than other warehousing spaces in the community, such as at Gregory Lane in Jackson.
Golf and Tennis homeowners showed up to the hearing in fierce opposition.
“I think this is the worst possible thing we could do,” resident Brad Bartel said. “Putting a warehouse and all these pads out there for RV units, it’s only going to decrease the value of all of our homes. It’s certainly going to decrease the beauty out there.”
Neighbor Patty McDonald said the proposal would “fundamentally change the character of our neighborhood, by adding a major industrial commercial operation to a quiet Golf and Tennis community.
“They’re trying to sell it as a workforce housing solution which will benefit everyone,” McDonald said, “but in reality it will only benefit Vail. It certainly won’t benefit our neighborhood.”
Some residents handed out photos of elk in the Golf and Tennis areas.
“I fear for the animals that I see every day in my front yard and my backyard,” Lynn Gaviotis said.
The county planning commission voted 3-2 to recommend shaving down the additional housing allowed from 11,000 square feet to 6,000.
“This proposal is basically allowing a 100% increase in development on that site,” Commissioner Alex Muromcew said. “To me, the scale of that is too much.”
Planning commissioners also voted to deny the request for up to six RV pads to accommodate seasonal employees, a request to permit cell towers to be constructed on the parcel, and a request to allow Grand Teton Lodge Company to use the site for industrial and employee housing purposes. They cited regulations that say Golf and Tennis operations should be “self-contained” to create predictability for neighbors.
“It makes sense for a corporation to consolidate space, reduce costs and maximize efficient transportation of their goods into the park,” Planning Commissioner Karen Rockey said. “That’s a corporate consideration and I respect it. However, we have a responsibility to consider the county and the quality of the neighborhood, which is a residential neighborhood with Spring Gulch Road passing through it.”
Commissioners Glen Esnard, Rockey and Muromcew passed the revised proposal. Commissioner Sue Lurie said she was not in favor of the proposal, citing potential impacts on wildlife, nor was Commissioner Kasey Mateosky, who said he wants Golf and Tennis to receive the full 11,000 square feet of housing requested.
The master plan changes next head to the Teton County Board of County Commissioners for a final review.