Jackson town councilors will have a busy day Monday, as they take up several issues of interest during their afternoon workshop and subsequent evening meeting.
Among other items on the workshop agenda, the council will consider the possibility of amending or repealing Ordinance 473, which first came before the council in January and has been the subject of a great deal of public comment, most of it railing against the ordinance and asking councilors to repeal it.
Ordinance 473 prohibits more than three unrelated individuals from living in the same home, and offers a definition of “family.” Many public commenters have said the ordinance, which went into effect in November 1993, places undue burden on members of the Jackson workforce who would like to live locally in affordable circumstances — i.e. often with multiple roommates to whom they are not related.
Some have also said that Ordinance 473 is yet another barrier for the town to achieve its goal of housing at least 65% of the workforce locally.
“I feel this ordinance is antiquated, conflicts with our community values, and presents an unnecessary barrier to affordable, sustainable housing in the town of Jackson,” wrote Jackson resident Kari Cieszkiewicz in a January comment to the council. “Further, this ordinance poses a particular threat to the most marginalized members of our community, particularly those with different immigration statuses, lower-income individuals and people of color. This ordinance can be used and abused by landlords as a coercive measure against their tenants.”
Also at the workshop, Assistant Public Works Director Johnny Ziem will present conceptual designs to the council for potential updates to the Rancher Street corridor as part of Jackson’s “Complete Streets” program. Ziem and Community Engagement Specialist Susan Scarlata held an online Zoom meeting for public input on the plans a few weeks ago, hearing from several residents of the Rancher Street neighborhood in East Jackson.
The evening meeting could be lively as well, with a full slate of agenda items for the council to consider.
Included in the packed evening agenda is council consideration of two liquor licenses — one for the restaurant inside the Alpine House Hotel, 285 Glenwood St., where in June they would like to expand their dining offerings from breakfast-only to also include dinner service; and the other a transfer of a liquor license at Pizzeria Caldera in downtown Jackson as the restaurant on May 1 will change ownership, according to the meeting staff report.
There will also be discussion and possible action regarding a new ground transportation (taxi) fare map, as well as ground transportation fees and requirements for business licenses.
Lastly, among items to be discussed under “Matters from Mayor and Council” are possible resolutions to submit to the Wyoming Association of Municipalities for inclusion on its legislative agenda, as well as consideration of fees for open records requests.
The open records request fees, which were approved at the council’s March 15 meeting and enacted on March 17, came under fire after criticism from former Wyoming Press Association Director Jim Angell and former Jackson Town Councilor Jim Stanford, who have long advocated for government transparency.
Councilors, meanwhile, pointed out that the fee is one of many that was updated to be in line with today’s dollars, and also noted that the town is looking at a number of ways to raise revenue to pay for services after the “seventh penny” sales tax measure failed at the ballot box in November.