Wyo. resort eyes housing requirement | AspenTimes.com

Wyo. resort eyes housing requirement

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

JACKSON, Wyo. ” Employers and developers building commercial space or homes in Jackson Hole might soon be required to do more to increase the area’s supply of affordable housing.

A new affordable housing plan by the Teton County Housing Authority is expected to be presented soon to the Teton County Commission and Jackson Town Council.

Currently when an employer builds commercial space in Jackson Hole, affordable employee housing must be lined up for at least 15 percent of the company’s employees. The same rate applies for developers ” at least 15 percent of housing that is built must be affordable compared to the area’s expensive open market.

The housing authority is proposing to increase the rate from 15 percent to 25 percent.

“I don’t think it will have a drastic effect either for developers or for our supply of affordable housing,” said the agency’s executive director, Christine Walker.

The idea grew from a series of meetings the housing authority held with commissioners and town councilors. The meetings followed a consultant’s report calling for increasing the amount of affordable housing in Jackson Hole to prevent more of the valley’s lower-wage workers from choosing to live elsewhere, such as in nearby Driggs, Idaho.

The report said increasing the affordable housing requirement from 15 percent to 40 percent would help ensure that 60 percent of Jackson Hole’s work force lives in Jackson Hole.

The 25 percent compromise came from Jackson Mayor Mark Barron.

“I said that to get this discussion moving forward,” Barron said. “I think it is doable. I think it is a reasonable measure.”

He called 25 percent a “stopgap” that could address the area’s affordable housing shortage until town and county officials can have a broader discussion about affordable housing.

Other mountain resort communities require much more affordable housing as part of development. In Aspen and Pitkin County, the county affordable housing requirement is 60 percent.

The median price of a single-family home in Teton County is nearly $1.2 million.