Top Stories July 6, 2016

Town Planners Poised to Approve Apartments

by Jackson Hole. Media

 

The planning commission will meet this evening to discuss allowing homeowners to build accessory apartments in various parts of town.

 

Commissioners will consider an amendment to the Land Development Regulations that would make it legal to put ‘accessory residential units’, or ARUs, in Neighborhood Conservation zones as well as in Rural and Suburban Zones.

 

This past spring, the Jackson Town Council asked their planning staff to look for ‘low hanging fruit” to provide workforce housing.

 

During four sparsely attended neighborhood meetings, a generally positive reaction was expressed to planners. In all, only 59 residents showed up at the meetings but they expressed strong support.

 

If approved, the change would allow units to be no larger than 800 square feet and would have to comply with existing standards on floor area and landscaping. There would be some flexibility on setbacks for detached accessory units.

 

One opposition comment came in a letter from Town Council candidate Judd Grossman who wrote, “Self-righteous development advocates will call us NIMBYs for not willingly laying down and agreeing to become “low hanging” fruit crushed under the frantic rush to “do something” about affordable housing. But all of us who live in Jackson Hole are NIMBYs. Jackson Hole is our backyard and we have struggled for decades to preserve our open space, wildlife habitat, our town square and our stable residential neighborhoods.”

The meeting starts at 530pm at the Town Hall.

 

Comments 1
  • Here is the full text of our letter to the Town Planning Commission:

    Please do not expand Accessory Residential Units (ARUs) into the Town Periphery neighborhoods. It is completely irresponsible to double or triple the density of these quiet neighborhoods on the edge of town. Density should be focused into the walkable urban core. The Comprehensive Plan has identified these Town Periphery neighborhoods as stable, low density, and low traffic. Preserving the character of these stable neighborhoods is the whole point of developing a comprehensive plan and identifying neighborhood character. The Town is steamrolling the Comprehensive Plan and these quiet periphery neighborhoods in the name of commercialism and political pandering. The fact that our economy is overheated and that commercial interests need a place to house their employees shouldn’t lead to the haphazard destruction of these amazing neighborhoods that have been havens of peace and quiet for decades. The proper place to address workforce housing is in the walkable urban core – not in the low density periphery.

    Self-righteous development advocates will call us NIMBYs for not willingly laying down and agreeing to become “low hanging” fruit crushed under the frantic rush to “do something” about affordable housing. But all of us who live in Jackson Hole are NIMBYs. Jackson Hole is our backyard and we have struggled for decades to preserve our open space, wildlife habitat, our town square and our stable residential neighborhoods. The balance between prosperity and preservation is an ongoing challenge. As a community we have decided that preservation of the character of our community is just as important as the money we can make by selling it off piece by piece.

    Our amazing Periphery neighborhoods have been a sanctuary from the bustle of downtown for decades, and a beautiful transitional zone to the Bridger-Teton National Forest and the National Elk Refuge. Now commercial interests want to literally put their employees in our backyards. This could be a financial windfall for property owners, but at the expense of the character of our low density Town Periphery neighborhoods. Density in the periphery brings traffic, and traffic is a character destroyer to low density neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are worth preserving even if it means a short term financial sacrifice for the property owners.

    The Town needs to buck up and provide significant density bonuses for employment based deed restricted workforce housing in the walkable urban core where there is easy access to jobs, shopping, services and transit. Pushing density into the periphery is bad planning.

    Judd and Mary Grossman
    50 Rancher St.
    Jackson

Leave a comment

*

*