JHMR seasonal housing

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort says its dormitory-style employee housing on Powderhorn Lane behind Kmart is a huge success. It wants to build more and has asked Teton County to reverse a July 2018 regulation barring the use of such dorm-style units to fulfill employee housing requirements.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is asking for changes to Teton County rules that would allow for dormitory-style housing units to satisfy employee housing requirements.

The resort built 26 dorm-style units at its Powderhorn Lane site behind Kmart in 2014 and 2015. Each of those employee units contains four individual locked bedrooms with a shared kitchen, living space and two bathrooms.

It’s that design the resort would like to replicate as it seeks to invest in further employee housing at Powderhorn, Chief Human Resources Officer Ty Hoath said.

“We point to those as being a huge success for us as a business, but also for the community,” Hoath said.

Dormitory-style units may no longer fulfill employee housing requirements. The change was enacted in July 2018 with the goal of encouraging construction of housing appropriate for full-time, year-round workers and families.

The resort filed an application June 14 to alter the Teton Village Master Plan to allow for dorm-style units occupied by unrelated individuals. Before proceeding with the second phase of the Powderhorn housing development, “JHMR wants assurance that their financial investment will allow [it] to use four-room lock-off style apartments when complying with future workforce housing requirements,” the application read.

Heath said Powderhorn-style dorms are needed for the resort to operate, providing housing for its large base of employees, and such housing also checks off a county goals of housing workers in dense development.

“It’s the right balance between character preservation for us, for Teton Village and for the town of Jackson,” Hoath said. “It’s right for growth management, and it’s right for quality of life.”

As intended, the resort’s proposed amendment would give all commercial businesses in Teton Village the option of mitigating housing requirements with dorm-style buildings.

“Our illustration of the Powderhorn project can be replicated for all Teton Village businesses,” Hoath said.

Such a change would extend to projects like the 134,000-square-foot luxury condo project planned at Teton Village, north of the skier bridge.

Rob DesLauriers, a developer behind that project, said he’d likely convert some of his project’s employee housing to dormitories should the amendment be approved.

“For our business and all commercial businesses in Teton County, our workforce ebbs and flows by season,” DesLauriers said. “We have to be able to house seasonal workers just like the national parks.”

“To be able to house those people is just a real part of our business,” he said.

Melissa Turley, executive director of the Teton Village Association, also supports the amendment.

“I think it makes a lot of sense,” Turley said. “Everyone would agree the Powderhorn housing development is a model that has been really successful in providing workforce housing, and we want to make sure that model continues to be a way that employers can fulfill their employee housing requirements.”

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has built more housing than currently required, resort planner Bill Schreiber said, and therefore has housing “credits.”

Powderhorn Phase 2 is “planned for a near-term construction,” the application said. Three additional buildings are planned, ideally with dorms as well as some traditional apartments, but the resort hasn’t finalized how many units there will be, Schreiber said.

The planning department is recommending approval of the amendment, with conditions including requiring each bedroom to lock individually and each unit have access to a kitchen area on the same floor.

Another recommended condition by staff would allow dorm-style dwellings to fulfill only the resort’s housing requirements, rather than all businesses at Teton Village.

The amendment is scheduled to be heard Monday by the Teton County Planning Commission. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. Final approval must come from the Teton County Board of County Commissioners.

Contact Allie Gross at 732-7063 or county@jhnewsandguide.com.

Allie Gross covers Teton County government. Originally from the Chicago area, she joined the News&Guide in 2017 after studying politics and Spanish at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

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