JACKSON, Wyo. — The Town of Jackson Planning Commission passed a motion last night, Dec. 1, recommending approval to the Town Council on the sketch plan for the redevelopment of the properties located at 50 S. Cache Street and 45 and 75 E. Pearl Avenue.
Senior Planner for the Town of Jackson, Tyler Valentine presented the sketch plan to the Commission. The size of the building and the lack of affordable or workforce housing dominated the discussion.
Valentine explained that the new development is about 20,000 square feet larger than the current building and that there are no building cap regulations for that area of town.
“Right now we don’t really have any rules to regulate that in this area potentially in the future there could be,” Valentine said.
The sketch plan also does not include affordable or workforce housing. The properties have housing credits attached to them.
Housing credits are based on a 1995 regulation. “Essentially, whichever uses generate the highest mitigation requirement during this period create a credit of equal value that can be used to offset the housing requirement of new development or redevelopment on the same site,” states the staff report.
The higher the use, the higher the credits. The existing properties have a total of 10.43 unit credits, based on the historical uses of lodging, retail, and a restaurant/bar.
The new development requires 6.57 deed-restricted units, but applying the previous credits attached to the property, a housing credit of 3.86 units will remain on the site even after the project is complete.
“It technically meets the requirements and any issues I have with it really are better suited for the discussion about the requirements and LDRs as they stand in general,” said Planning Commission member, Rachael Stewart.
“There has been a lot of public backlash and I think everyone is well aware, that’s a massive building that’s going in there. It is unfortunate that there is no workforce housing associated with it but that again is an issue with the LDRs as they stand. We arent doing anything wrong based on the requirements that exist right now. I don’t think there is any way to push back on that,” Stewart said.
Commission members Anne Schuler and Wendy Martinez echoed similar sentiments.
“Looking back at credits from 1995 when somebody may not have built any workforce housing, They just got credits, is a little tough but that’s policy stuff,” Schuler said.
“We should be having a proactive discussion and not a reactive discussion when we see buildings like these. I’m hopeful it will add opportunity for people but I think that it’s unfortunate that there aren’t any stronger incentives for the applicant to provide affordable and workforce housing opportunities. In the housing crisis, we find ourselves in today, it would be definitely on my part a missed opportunity not to mention it now,” said Martinez.
“There are larger conversations I think to be had,” Martinez said. “I don’t know if we as Planning Commission members have a role in that, if so, I would love to explore how we can have those conversations.”
Valentine also shared that no public comment has been received on the application. During the meeting, there was also no public comment.
“We have received general comments and concerns related to stable and transitional neighborhoods. We haven’t had anyone call or send in comments specifically on this property,” Valentine said.