JACKSON, Wyo. — During the regular Town Council meeting on Monday, council members approved plans for the Vertical Housing project.
The effort aims to provide housing for community members by utilizing the 283 parking spaces in the town’s parking garage. Jackson Mayor Bailey Zorton-Heavenson welcomed the proposal after tiring of her constituents’ complaints about a lack of affordable rental opportunities, announcing, “We have an obvious resource, and it’s beyond time to maximize the return to our housing insecure taxpayers.”
According to the plans, all four levels of the $10.25 million parking structure, that originally opened in 2008, will be converted into short and long-term housing with an application process supported by the Teton Hope for Decent Affordable Rentals Department. A weighted weekly and monthly lottery will determine who gets which spot, and for how long.
Starting May 1st, each spot is limited to a maximum occupancy of one vehicle and two individuals. Every other parking space will be kept vacant to create “roomlets,” which are conceived as outside living areas. Pets are welcome, and anyone not wanting neighboring pets in their space must fence out unwanted guests using sustainably sourced or reused materials. Opportunities to reserve spaces as a cluster are available so groups of friends and families can enjoy adjacent spaces.
The limited fourth-story spaces will come at a hefty premium and boast 360-degree views of the town and open-air living. Roof spots are limited, with amenities planned for residents including a turf dog park, tiki bar, and barbecue area in the top section of the fourth floor.
May Shorton, Director of Teton Hope, defended the pricing at Monday’s presentation, “Can anyone really put a price on these penthouse level views with unlimited fresh air? It was a hard decision for our staff, so ultimately we decided with a roll of the dice from the fourth level because it’s all downhill from here.”
First-floor spaces start at $250 per week, second and third-floor spaces $350 per week, and fourth-floor spaces $500 per week. Town Councilor Timbo Books questioned the affordability of the rentals, noting the premium over some local camping areas and a desire to be more competitive with the free spaces available in the nearby forest.
Each spot on the south-facing side of the garage gets a bonus in exchange for obstructed views and reduced light: tenants receive a farm share from neighboring Southern Harvest. The beloved greenhouse operation will also be accepting compost from garage tenants in an effort to reduce food waste.
Availability ranges from weekly and seasonal, with plans for long-term and workforce ownership opportunities.
If you’ve made it this far and are ready to put your housing application in…just wait…because it’s only April 1. Happy April Fools’ from Buckrail!