Above: Developer Larry Huhn engaged in discussion about his proposed workforce housing plan. The town and county rejected his request last week to amend the Comprehensive Plan and effectively make way for 155 single-family homes for Teton County workers. (Ryan Dorgan/Jackson Hole News&Guide)
In her recent story on the rejected workforce housing plan for 155 homes south of Jackson, Jackson Hole News&Guide reporter Allie Gross offered some important context. It helped explain some of the public surprise and dismay over the town and county’s vote. She listed off recent news in Jackson and Teton County that underscores the valley’s enduring housing crisis.
For example, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is considering leaving Jackson because its staff cannot afford to live in the valley. Gross also notes that Teton County Sheriff Matt Carr is requesting more than half a million dollars from the county to help deputies afford a home in the same place where they work.
Housing town and county critical service providers is not a new problem.
In fact, in 2015, I reported on then-Sgt. Matt Carr’s housing predicament at Blair Place Apartments. At the time, Blair Place was raising its rents by more than 40 percent. Amid the valley’s housing shortage, Carr lamented that he didn’t have any other housing choices. Of the 16 deputies employed by Teton County at the time, he was one of two with a Teton County address. Those numbers haven’t changed much. Today, just four deputies live in Teton County, the News&Guide reports.
Given the perennial need for affordable housing in the valley, many folks are indeed asking why the town and county rejected the workforce housing plan for Hog Island. To begin, Gross explained the nuts and bolts of that plan and who was behind it.