Comp plan house

Officials are beginning to consider future housing development in northern South Park, shown here just beyond the edge of town.

Officials this week took the first steps to plan for housing on a handful of key properties around Teton County, signaling a new openness to development in areas they’ve long “danced around.”

The conversation between the Jackson Town Council and the Teton County Board of County Commissioners mostly centered on three tracts of land: the Teton County Fairgrounds, the northern part of South Park, and the area around the Aspens on Teton Village Road. For years, they’ve all been informally viewed as future sites for major housing construction, but they’ve largely been left on the back burner.

Now, as the town and county update their Comprehensive Plan for the first time since 2012 — having fallen short of its goal to house 65% of local workers in Teton County — they’re revisiting these locations as potential solutions to the community’s shortage of affordable housing.

The largest one, northern South Park, is adjacent to the southern edge of town, and many argue that proximity makes it a logical place to expand into.

“It is the obvious thing that has been staring this community in the face for 30 years,” Councilor Jim Stanford said.

The elected officials are, to some extent, thinking of this area as packaged with the fairgrounds. The town owns the land along Snow King Avenue, and the county operates the fair there, under a lease that will expire in 2026. At that point, some say, it may make sense to relocate the fairgrounds — likely to northern South Park — and replace it with high-density housing.

Rather than give a specific timeline for development on these properties, the elected officials asked their staff to begin work on a master plan for both northern South Park and the fairgrounds. It will likely be many years, if ever, before either comes to fruition.

Read more here.

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

Cody Cottier covers town and state government. He grew up with a view of the Olympic Mountains, and after graduating Washington State University he traded it for a view of the Tetons. Odds are the mountains are where you’ll find him when not on deadline.

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