JACKSON HOLE, WYO \u2013 A proposed apartment complex aimed toward a workforce struggling to find affordable housing anywhere in the valley cleared a major hurdle yesterday. \u00a0Sagebrush Apartments, a proposed 90-unit complex backed by restaurateur Joe Rice and developer John Shelton, received sketch plan approval Tuesday afternoon at a special meeting held by the town council. The project that first required a text amendment to land development regulations, is now on a fast-track for final PUD (Planned Unit Development) approval. The project will no longer come before the council. Planning staff has the final thumbs up or down in the coming months as the applicant works through some 17 conditions of final approval. Debate over the project meandered amongst elected officials. Dialogue in minutiae included the slope of the roof (would it shed \u2018snow-icicles of death\u2019 like at The Wort?), the inclusion of pets (banned or leashed?), and lighting (not enough, said Bob Lenz). Aspects the council examined in greater detail were parking and sewer concerns, and a wee more assurance that the project would remain apartment rentals and not get \u2018condominiumized\u2019 in the future. The applicant offered to replace a section of sewer line underneath the property now, rather than have the town decide they need to dig it up later when the $25 million project is complete. That, or they would help pay to have the town realign the sewer line down Broadway instead of so close to Flat Creek. Public Works director Larry Pardee said the 14-inch line was only four years into its estimated 15- to 20-year lifespan and recent video showed it still in good shape, but he would consider how to best proceed considering there was private sector money on the table. Parking was another issue. The proposed site plan shows 92 parking spaces for 90 apartment units with 110 total bedrooms. Councilmembers worried that overflow parking at would wind up over at the Staples\/Hoback Sports\/Dollar Tree lot. Applicant representatives Christine Walker and Stefan Fodor assured electeds that based on the type of renters they were expecting, many would not have a vehicle. Also, they would charge a monthly fee for their tenants to park there, giving them incentive to get rid of their cars and ride the bus. Walker said there would be a fulltime property manager onsite to keep things in order. Fodor said they had 25 million reasons to make parking work (referring to the estimated cost of the project). Lenz said it was his experience that developers didn\u2019t care where people parked once they got their building finished. He wanted more assurance than just Rice\u2019s promise extra cars could park at nearby Bubba\u2019s, which he owns. Jim Stanford concurred. \u201cI don\u2019t agree developer has the burden of making sure people will be parked. They won't care where people park,\u201d he said. \u201cIt seems best to me to have an agreement in hand \u2026 rather than, \u2018just trust us, we\u2019ll work on it.\u2019\u201d Finally, both Lenz and Stanford they needed a little more assurance the project wouldn\u2019t wind up being converted to more lucrative condos that would not serve the public as well as workforce housing rentals, especially after the town agreed to a text amending allowing Rice and Shelton to skirt around affordable housing mitigation requirements in consideration that their entire project was inherently affordable housing. \u201cWe are playing a game of Twister, contorting ourselves into many positions to make this work,\u201d Stanford fretted. \u201cI\u2019ll give you a little history lesson,\u201d Lenz offered. As the longest-tenured councilman and the oldest, he shared his experience with developers who promised one thing only to have future councils make changes. Shelton said lenders preferred an \u201cadditional option of exit,\u201d referring to potential future condos, but he was willing to consent to a formal agreement the project would remain rental apartments. The council took him up on the offer, making it another condition of approval though Mayor Pete Muldoon said, \u201cI accept the condition but future councils will still do what they want to do.\u201d Rice and Shelton were later denied a waiver of some $7,000 in developer fees. The applicants were hoping to receive the exemption based on the public goodwill merits of the development. Councilors said they had never waived fees before for a private, for-profit development and weren\u2019t about to start now.