Teton Pass commuters

Commuters and travelers cross in October 2017 along Highway 22 between Jackson Hole and Teton Valley, Idaho. Housing officials are asking construction and retail workers, homeowners and older residents of Jackson Hole and Teton Valley to participate in a housing survey.

Teton County is looking for more retail and construction workers, plus homeowners and older residents to fill out a survey about their housing needs.

So far, just over 2,000 people have filled out the Regional Housing Needs Assessment. Although that number meets the initial goal for total responses, Jackson/Teton County Housing Department Director April Norton told the Jackson Hole Daily that her department is looking for more responses, particularly from those currently underrepresented in the data: retail and construction workers, homeowners and older county residents.

“We feel really good about the response we’ve gotten, but we also want to make sure we get the best response we can,” Norton said. “Even though we’ve met our goals, let’s go above and beyond.”

The study aims to give officials a better picture of what people need and want for housing in the greater Jackson Hole area. The study covers Teton and northern Lincoln counties — south to Smoot in the latter per consultant WSW Consulting Inc.’s approved proposal — as well as Teton County, Idaho.

WSW President Wendy Sullivan said that about 77% of responses so far have come from Teton County, Wyoming, followed by roughly 17% from Idaho, and only about 6% or 7% from northern Lincoln County.

Sullivan said the study is focusing on people who work in Teton counties, Wyoming and Idaho because there are study stakeholders in those locations. The focus in Lincoln County is on people who commute to Jackson or Teton Valley.

But, Sullivan said, if people who live and work in Lincoln County want to fill out the survey, they’re more than welcome to do so.

Eventually, the data is intended to help guide solutions to the region’s pressing housing issues. The survey seeks to collect information from a broad swath of the county: renters and homeowners of all income levels, ages, ethnicities and employment types.

The form is available in both English and Spanish, with separate questionnaires for individuals and employers. The English link can be found at TinyURL.com/housingneedsjhENG and the Spanish link at TinyURL.com/housingneedsjhESP. The link for employers is at TinyURL.com/homeneedsjhbiz.

The deadline to complete the survey is Oct. 8.

Officials will then use the results to prepare a draft report by the week of Jan. 10, 2022, followed by a final report in February.

{div class=”subscriber-only”}The regional assessment is focusing on the residential and employee housing market, according to a webpage about the study, and is intended to “identify how much, what type (ownership or rental), at which price point and for whom housing is needed across the entire housing spectrum.”

That includes “extremely low-income households” and “higher priced housing for residents and employees.”

The housing assessment will be used in tandem with a separate study, the “Employee Generation by Land Use Study,” which seeks to determine how new residential and commercial development creates the need for affordable and workforce housing.

The job creation study is often referred to as a “Housing Nexus Study” and data from a past, similar study underpins the town and county’s housing mitigation rates, which set the amount of housing commercial and residential developers must provide — or pay a fee-in-lieu for — based on the number of jobs their development will generate and the expected level of pay for those new employees.

Once the studies are finished, the data will be used to develop a housing strategy to “help address the areas where existing housing options are falling short of supporting local residents, employees and businesses,” the website states.

That process is set to begin in February or March.

Contact Billy Arnold at 732-7063 or barnold@jhnewsandguide.com.

Teton County Reporter

Billy Arnold has covered government and policy since January 2020, sitting through hours of Teton County meetings so readers don't have to. He moonlights as a ski reporter, helps with pandemic coverage and sneaks away to climb when he can.

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