A lack of affordable housing plagues an increasing number of people in small and large cities across the U.S. In recent years, strides have been made to put a dent in Teton County’s housing crisis. According to a 2019 report by the Jackson/Teton County Affordable Housing Department, at the beginning of this year at least 240 workforce housing units were at some stage of development. That includes private sector housing. Indeed, taxpayer-funded projects will not solve the housing crisis alone; it will take the appetite of private developers too.
And that brings us to the controversy over the Hog Island housing plan. Longtime resident and owner of Hoback Market Larry Huhn was behind it. But it wasn’t as simple as Huhn selling his plan to the town and county. First, the comprehensive plan, the guiding document when it comes to how the town and county grows, would have required amendments. That didn’t sit well with most town and county elected officials. They worried about affordability, sprawl, increased traffic and setting a precedent that opened up the door for more developments that don’t align with the comp plan.
Given the dearth of housing in the area, a lot of community members were surprised. Then on May 21, county commissioners changed their tune.