Teton County has an “affordable” housing problem.
Here are a few ways our community could develop meaningful deed-restricted, affordable housing for the workforce:
- Utilize our community-funded assets in an efficient and timely manner.
- Identify recurring revenue sources that allow us to continue to chip away at the problem.
- Protect our community character by developing housing away from critical wildlife corridors.
- Support public and private partnerships that get housing in the ground for a variety of household incomes.
Diving Deeper into the issues of Housing
With over eleven hundred individuals and families on the affordable housing wait list, we must think and act boldly if we are to attain the community goal of housing 65% of our workforce locally. Global market pressures are working against us, as investors drive up real estate prices and entice locals to sell. There is no reason to think that we can simply “build” our way out of this situation using only the marketplace tools of supply and demand. If elected, I pledge to negotiate with private partners, exchanging valuable density bonuses for assurances of permanent affordable, workforce housing.
The opportunity to develop Northern South Park will prove one of the most consequential in County history. We are simply running out of developable land, especially close to Town, and we need to get this right. On one hand, that means, we have to get this done. One the other hand, getting it right means that we take the time to develop a comprehensive neighborhood vision for the entire 5.6 Subarea (owned by the Gills and the Lockharts). In my opinion, such a plan should focus on mixed density along High School Road (mirroring that to the north), infrastructure (roads, water, sewer, transit), and conserved land (with emphasis on wildlife permeability). With the proper leadership, our community could net many hundreds of dedicated affordable, workforce-restricted housing units in Northern South Park, and the developers could net hundreds of millions in density bonuses.
Recent studies have revealed that over EIGHT THOUSAND commuters drive back and forth up the canyon or over the pass EVERY DAY. Fewer and fewer teachers, nurses, emergency service providers, and other working folks can afford to plant their roots in our valley. Housing our workforce close to their jobs represents a massive opportunity to fulfil the goals set out in our Comprehensive Plan. It is good for our environment and good for our community. For more about my views on transit, please dive deeper HERE.
Affordable housing is affordable only because it is subsidized. While some of our housing funding comes from community philanthropy, the vast majority of the housing costs are absorbed by our local governments. For a deeper dive into my view on possible funding sources that could support housing projects, please dive deeper HERE.
The solutions to our community’s housing problems are within our grasp if we elect leaders who are capable, creative, and dedicated. My experiences as a business owner (Teton Toys) and Board Member (START- transit and ISWR- Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling) have tested and prepared me to help solve our critical community issues like workforce housing.