News December 30, 2015

Surprise Report: Residents Drive Growth

by Jackson Hole. Media


A draft report from Teton County planners suggests that commercial and residential use is not the key driver for the growth of employees and development.

Jackson/Teton County Long-range Planner Alex Norton prepared the report in response to a request from Councilor Don Frank. It depicts the growth numbers between the years 2002 and 2014 for development and employee generation and draws a conclusion that institutional development such as schools, churches, community centers, and government buildings seem to be the culprit. Most of those facilities serve current residents and many have been approved at the ballot box.

The report says, “The highest rate of growth was in institutional development. Maybe we corrected for a shortage of services, or maybe the level of service demanded by the community has grown”, Norton said. “In real numbers we built almost 800,000 square feet of institutional floor area.”

That number constitutes a 98% annual growth rate for institutional development over the last 12 years compared to an annual growth rate of 2.1% for multi-family, 1.9 percent for commercial, 1.5 percent for single family homes, and 0.6% for lodging.

To Norton, the institutional growth number is a surprise. “It is our own increased level of service in community facilities that accounts for 1/3 of the employee generation that has occurred,” he said in the draft.

Out of needed housing generated by employees in the town and county during that period, Norton estimated increasing the housing deficit by about 200.

It is thought that the downtown district will be brought back up in the New Year with an eye to stripping out some commercial zoning. Meanwhile, the council has been presented with a plan to build a 34 million dollar expansion of the Rec Center.

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