Housing Plan in Place

By on October 5, 2016



Jackson Hole, WY — Town and county elected officials signed off on a housing plan intended to map out workforce housing efforts in Teton County, and cement a closer relationship between the new Affordable Housing Department and government oversight committees. The Jackson/Teton County Housing Supply Plan 2016-17 was unanimously approved at a joint information meeting Monday.

Housing director April Norton was thanked by Board of County Commissioners chair Barbara Allen for her hard work in preparing the 10-page document highlighting a multi-faceted approach to tackling the valley’s ongoing and biggest task: providing affordable housing for members of the community below 120 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI).

Nuts and bolts

The plan aligns with the 2012 Comp Plan including the goal to house at least 65 percent of the valley’s workforce locally. A 2014 Rees report estimated that about 62 percent of Jackson Hole’s workforce is housed locally in a combination of free market homes and nearly 1,500 restricted units. According to the new housing supply plan, achieving or surpassing the goal will help create a “healthy, stable community with a high quality of life and visitor experience.”

Housing department staffers realize the challenges ahead are deep-rooted and monumental, but not insurmountable.

“Workforce housing is not a new challenge to the valley; for more than 30 years, employers, the government, housing organizations, and the private sector have come up with creative ways to house our community’s workforce,” the department stated in the report.

The plan delves into capital investments and projects already made and underway, and looks out to 2018 for future opportunities as far as possible land acquisition and development. Much hinges on whether the 1 percent sales tax passes in November. Budget projections for fiscal years 2017/18 hover around $8.7 million. Without revenue from the general sales tax penny, the Community Priorities Fund would hold more like $2.7 million.

The Affordable Housing Department anticipates exploring numerous avenues that could alleviate the housing shortage. They include relaxing land development regulations and zoning, addressing “leakage” (housing stock loss), and keeping an eye on new development that generates the need for additional employees.

The department also proposes a unique and proactive measure calculated to incentivize new deed restrictions for workforce housing. Over the next two years, Norton will direct staff efforts toward developing a private community fund for new market homeowners, a market place for housing (both rental and ownership), and an affordable housing easement.

View the complete Housing Supply Plan here.



About Jake Nichols

You must be logged in to post a comment Login