Jackson town councilors halt commercial development

The moratorium approved at this week’s town council meeting presses pause on a hotel development that if built — would be the biggest building in Jackson’s history.
The moratorium approved at this week's town council meeting followed spoken opposition to the development by community members at a public meeting last month, some asking exactly for the moratorium. (Hanna Merzbach/KHOL)

The Jackson Town Council unanimously passed moratorium at this week’s town council meeting — pausing all new large commercial development applications for nearly four months. The decision halts a roughly 360,000 square-foot proposed hotel with condos, retail space, restaurants and underground parking.

At the packed council meeting, people sat on windowsills, on the floor and spilled into the entryway. The meeting, led by Mayor Hailey Morton Levinson, lasted over four hours.

“Thank you, everyone,” Morton Levinson said. “I’m trying to extend our record of how long we’ve been here.”

Town Councilor Jim Rooks said the pause in development gives the council time to study and analyze current land development regulations to better reflect long-term planning for the town.

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“120 days noting that we can extend it if needed,” Rooks said.

In addition to the moratorium, town councilors voted unanimously against giving a town-owned alley to the developers. Town councilor Jessica Sell Chambers spoke in agreement.

“It’s a public asset, once you privatize that, it never comes back,” Sell Chambers said.

Many community members spoke against the development at a public meeting last month — some asking directly for the moratorium. They argued the hotel development goes against the town’s character and could impact what some see as an already stretched town infrastructure. 

Meanwhile, the Utah-based developer Mogul Capital, building the 360,000 square-foot development,  asked to postpone reviewing their sketch plans. Those won’t be discussed until after the moratorium ends.

In addition to the heavily scrutinized hotel development that garnered a packed chamber town councilors also approved the 2025 fiscal year budget, offered childcare during town meetings for the first time and agreed to work with one developer instead of the previously approved two developers for the Virginian RV housing development.

That last decision mirrors a similar decision approved by Teton County Commissioners last month —  and gives the housing department clear direction to negotiate with the developer.

Local electeds will decide the future of the Virginian RV housing development at a future joint town and county meeting, expected in about a month.

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