JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. \u2013 Even as two government-sponsored affordable housing projects sit idled, town council moved forward three private sector housing developments at its last meeting but only after closely scrutinizing a sidewalk, a tree, and an LLC.\r\n\r\nBase Camp LLC\r\n\r\nFirst to face approval at last Monday\u2019s meeting was a 20-unit apartment complex slated for 640-650 S Glenwood\u2014the open lots adjacent to the defunct Lift restaurant.\r\n\r\nCouncilman Jim Stanford initially inquired about whether the applicant would be amenable to extending a sidewalk on his or her dime.\r\n\r\n\u201cA sidewalk that ends midway is a sidewalk to nowhere,\u201d Stanford said. \u201cIt is of little to no value. We are talking about a half a block of sidewalk.\u201d\r\n\r\nCan we make them? Stanford wondered.\r\n\r\nNo, came the short answer from town attorney Lea Colasuonno.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u201cBut there is nothing to prevent the developer from doing the right thing. Having the sidewalk would be a good thing,\u201d Arne Jorgensen chimed in.\r\n\r\n\u201cCorrect, but I can\u2019t make it a condition of approval,\u201d Colasuonno answered.\r\n\r\nAfter asking the applicant\u2019s representative\u2014an architect named Elizabeth Whittaker from Boston\u2014if the owner of the parcels, identified only as Base Camp LLC, would be amenable to extending the sidewalk, councilors then cut to the chase and tried to skip the messenger.\r\n\r\n\u201cI\u2019m curious who the people are behind the LLC because people are coming into our community I\u2019m hearing stories about certain individuals coming in buying up lots of pieces of property with the intent to develop them,\u201d said councilman Johnathon Schechter. \u201cIf they are really proud of what they are doing they shouldn\u2019t be anxious about hiding behind their corporations and if they aren\u2019t proud to stand up and talk about what they are doing that strikes me as an interesting red flag.\u201d\r\n\r\nCouncilwoman Hailey Morton Levinson took immediate exception to the line of questioning, calling it inappropriate and a direction that made her \u201cuncomfortable.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cI personally do not know who the actual owners are,\u201d said planner Tyler Valentine.\r\n\r\nStanford backed Schechter up regarding his right to at least ask who the town was dealing with.\r\n\r\n\u201cWho is the owner?\u201d Stanford asked, point-blank.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u201cI knew that was going to come,\u201d Whittaker sighed, going on to explain they are wonderful, lovely, private people who visit often.\r\n\r\nAgain, the curious were cut off, this time by Mayor Pete Muldoon who said asking and knowing who applicants are could invite bias amongst the decisionmakers.\r\n\r\nAfter wondering how snow was going to be removed, Stanford came back to the sidewalk and the trees that would have to be sacrificed for its construction.\r\n\r\n\u201cWhy are we losing the trees? That seems to be the default anymore. When in doubt, cut it down,\u201d he wondered aloud.\r\n\r\n\u201cI\u2019m sad about the trees. We had to lose a few trees in the front,\u201d Whittaker said. \u201cThey think the trees are going to die if we do the sidewalk around them. It doesn\u2019t sound like it\u2019s worth it.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cMature spruce trees are going to die from a sidewalk going around them?\u201d Stanford shot back.\r\n\r\nValentine offered to save Whittaker but admitted he was not an arborist and was merely told by Parks and Rec that the trees would not like having a sidewalk around them.\r\n\r\n\u201cSomehow we manage to build other sidewalks close to trees. I don\u2019t understand why we can\u2019t try to save them,\u201d Stanford challenged. \u201cI\u2019ve seen some of the certified arborists Parks and Rec uses and they sometimes don\u2019t quite match expectations.\u201d\r\n\r\nPublic comment included the standard NIMBY responses\u2014this time from Corie Ryback, who said the project is too tall with too many units; and Jim Brungardt, who wrote the project is too big.\r\n\r\nUltimately, the project checked all the boxes and every councilor and mayor made the findings to approve the development by a 5-0 vote.\r\n\r\nTeton Landings LLC\r\n\r\nWhen councilors had a question for the applicant hoping to subdivide a one-acre parcel at 115 Nelson Drive into seven subdivisions, Sadek Darwiche immediately jumped up and identified himself as \u201cthe man behind the LLC.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cIn a small town, it\u2019s nice to know who you\u2019re dealing with,\u201d Stanford answered with a smile. \u201cWhat do you hope to do?\u201d\r\n\r\nDarwiche explained he was looking to get an idea of what he could build there. Maybe 5,000-sf homes in a style suited to east Jackson and along the lines of a Daisy Bush-type development. He admitted construction costs are so high now it is probably not something he could take on but maybe the next guy to own the property would have some entitlements in place if he could get them.\r\n\r\nCouncil members had some discussion over parking a potential subdivision there\u2014Stanford jokingly alluding to spots in east Jackson often scarfed up by boats and campers parked legally on the street.\r\n\r\n\u201cOne of the ships from the \u2018Nelson Drive Navy\u2019 is parked on the street right now,\u201d he said, referring to satellite imagery of the lot showing a large water vessel drydocked along Nelson Drive.\r\n\r\nOutside of parking, councilors had few concerns about Darwiche\u2019s bid to make a subdivision out of an odd-shaped parcel on Nelson, approving the request by unanimous vote.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nSagebrush Investors LLC\r\n\r\nThere was no need to identify the man behind the LLC for Sagebrush Apartments. Local restaurateur and developer Joe Rice and his partner John Shelton have worn out a path to the town chambers for nearly three years trying to get their 90-unit apartment complex built on 550 W Broadway.\r\n\r\nThis time, the group was back for an amendment that would modify the HUD rider to the special restriction for 32 workforce rental units integral to the project.\r\n\r\nAfter approval in June 2017, the project has been on hold as financing has proved difficult.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe latest HUD hang-up was billed as a \u201cminor deviation request\u201d by staff but Stanford didn\u2019t care how minor it was; he was tired of seeing the applicant back for yet another allowance, pushing the project into a \u201ctoo big to fail\u201d category he felt pressured to approve.\r\n\r\n\u201cEvery time we\u2019ve agreed to something we make further concessions. We\u2019ve watered down restrictions until they are not even restrictions anymore. And adjust we have. Innumerable times,\u201d Stanford said. \u201cOriginally, this property was going to be mixed-use housing of 20 units and market which we extended zoning for. Then it was proposed this property would be an upscale hotel and it was insisted that this property be added to the lodging overlay which this council denied.\r\n\r\n\u201cNow we have this proposal. The town has contorted itself into a pretzel so many times to try to make this work that it\u2019s nearly become a farce. I\u2019ve said it before but you have to get off the train if you don\u2019t like where it\u2019s going and we\u2019ve long since crossed that point where what\u2019s being delivered is not what was promised.\u201d\r\n\r\nMorton Levinson, however, expressed a desire to look ahead rather than behind.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe\u2019ve been looking at this for a long time. Maybe Jim and I\u2019s entire council terms,\u201d Morton Levinson said. \u201cI hear we\u2019re frustrated but at the end of the day, this is a good project and one we should have in Jackson. Even with the different restrictions and whatnot. We see we do have to make these adjustments even though we want it to be perfect from the get-go that\u2019s not reality. We have to adjust.\u201d\r\n\r\nJorgensen conceded the process was not the greatest but, \u201cThe project we have in front of us is better than [previous iterations] as far as public benefits.\u201d\r\n\r\nMayor Muldoon offered, \u201cI don\u2019t feel contorted about it. I feel like we\u2019ve been working through the problems. I understand what the risks are and I\u2019m comfortable with where the risks are, and they are acceptable to me. Today, this project still generally meets the goals I supported three years ago.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe minor deviation to the PUD approved more than two years ago was approved by a 4-1 vote with Stanford opposed.