Density debate continues in Jackson Hole |

Density debate continues in Jackson Hole

Allen Best

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. The density debate continues in Jackson Hole.

First there was the plan to increase density potential in downtown Jackson, the area’s only town. By increasing downtown density, said the city council, sprawl into the countryside would be reduced.

But town residents vetoed that plan. The up-zoning that would allow the density increase was not accompanied by a guarantee of reduced building potential in the unincorporated areas outside Jackson, said opponents. They won.

Now, a development proposal at the ski resort base, called Teton Village, has triggered a similar argument. The proposal calls for a substantial increase in building density. The proposal from the Rezor family, ranchers turned developers, calls for 478 housing units, plus a golf course, a big-box-store amount of commercial space, plus 812 parking spaces.

The strong and influential Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance has released a critique that says the proposed density is not accompanied by guarantees of reduced sprawl or protection of open space, ranch lands, and wildlife.

The Rezors, according to the Jackson Hole News & Guide, respond that the increased density is to accommodate more affordable housing. Two-thirds would be free-market, but nearly a third would be labeled as either affordable or attainable.

Tax-increment financing proposed for Steamboat

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Several business and property owners at the base of the Steamboat ski area, including the ski area operator, are assembling a proposal to use tax-increment financing as a way of financing public improvements such as roads and pedestrian paths.

A similar but more ambitious plan was rejected in 1999, notes The Steamboat Pilot. That previous plan envisioned steering $150 million in property taxes back into improvements. This one, in a bar-napkin estimate, would divert $5 million to $10 million in tax money that would otherwise go to county and other property-taxing governments. School taxes, however, are exempted.

Paul Hughes, Steamboat’s city manager, suggested city council members would be receptive to the proposal. “With the right boundaries, it would probably be well received.”

Many have seen Steamboat’s base area as so dysfunctional that it has deterred real estate reinvestment.

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