Developers Paying their Fair Share through Housing Mitigation

Developers Paying their Fair Share through Housing Mitigation

We’re proud to speak for the huge number of community members who showed up throughout the past year to ask developers to contribute their fair share towards a jobs/housing balance. Unfortunately, a group of landowners, developers, and their lawyers are pressuring Town Council & County Commission to actually reduce housing requirements on new development. We submitted the following comment letter to the Town and County before their Monday meeting, but the official vote won’t take place until July 16. Please contact your elected representatives and ask them to stand strong for our community. Check out our comments from last fall to learn even more.

June 29, 2018
Jackson Town Council & Mayor
Teton County Board of County Commissioners

Re: Developers Paying their Fair Share through Housing Mitigation

Dear Mayor Muldoon, Town Councilors, and County Commissioners:

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed housing mitigation policy updates. It is clear from our current and ever-worsening imbalance of jobs and housing that we need to significantly increase mitigation rates on commercial, lodging, and market-rate residential development.

Housing mitigation is a critical tool to mitigate the impacts of growth on our workforce and our community. The Housing Action Plan showed that job growth is the major driver of our increasing workforce housing gap: we need 200 new homes every year to keep up with new job growth, compared to only 80 homes per year to catch up on our existing significant shortage.

And, it is clear that current mitigation rates are too low: after years of the current system, we have a booming economy, multiple jobs per capita, and a worsening housing shortage. As they say, when you’re in a hole, the first order of business is to stop digging. Luckily, there is a simple solution: we can increase mitigation rates to keep up with job growth. Please require mitigation for at least 65% of new jobs (year-round and seasonal), so that new development keeps up with our 65% workforce housing goal. (Note: if you require 0% mitigation for seasonal jobs, please make the year-round number proportionally higher.) We aren’t asking developers to build more housing than their workers need, but just to contribute their fair share. Incredibly, commercial advocates claim that increasing mitigation rates will “stifle” our economy. We’ve heard this before: two years ago, commercial advocates claimed that the balanced District 2 regulations you adopted would “kill,” “strangle,” and put a “nail in the coffin” of our vibrant downtown. Looking around, it’s clear that they were wrong – but instead of admitting their errors, they’re still repeating the same tired claims.

Ultimately, mitigation levels should not be based on political pressure, but rather on the data:
what’s the right level so that we aren’t making our housing problem worse? Please adopt new
mitigation rates based on the data, and take one more positive step toward implementing the
Housing Action Plan and our Comprehensive Plan. Please be in touch with any questions, and
thank you for your commitment to our community.

Skye Schell
Executive Director
Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance

Phone: (307) 733-9417
685 S. Cache St. PO Box 2728
Jackson, Wyoming 83001