October 6, 2021

RE: Residential Occupancy Limits

Dear Mayor Morton-Levinson and Councilors,

At ShelterJH, we support smart policy changes that enable local workers to live and put down roots in our community. We applaud the Council’s move to strike an antiquated and discriminatory definition of “family” from the land development regulations (LDRs).

We commend planning staff on a very thorough review of the LDRs and of how peer communities deal with these issues. We support shifting from occupancy limits based on an arbitrary “family” size to occupancy limits based on livability and safety standards. We support the draft code 6.1.4.A.2.d-e and believe it is a great improvement over the previous rules from Ordinance 473. Requiring a minimum amount of floor area and bathrooms based on the number of adults in a house makes sense.

Building on those changes, we would suggest changing 6.1.4.A.2.b (“A residential unit shall have a maximum of one kitchen”). Similar to bathroom space and overall floor area in a home, sufficient kitchen space is a core requirement for livability. Thus, we recommend replacing the maximum kitchen amount with a minimum kitchen requirement. This could either be:

  • a number of kitchens: “at least one kitchen shall be provided for shared use by no more than XX adult occupants…” – like the bathroom requirement (e), or
  • an amount of kitchen floor area: “there shall be a minimum of 150 SF of kitchen for the first adult occupant, plus XX SF for each additional adult occupant”

This change would ensure livability in parallel to the other new rules. Alternatively, if measuring kitchens is too complicated and unnecessary, you could simply remove any reference to kitchens in this section of the LDRs. Overall, we do not see a helpful purpose in a kitchen maximum.

Thank you for your dedication to finding solutions so that more local workers can live in Jackson. As you know, there’s no one answer, so each seemingly-subtle fix can be one part of the bigger picture.

 

Sincerely,

ShelterJH
Clare Stumpf – Coordinator
Mary Erickson, Elizabeth Hutchings, Christine Walker, Mike Welch, Skye Schell, Ash Hermanowski – Board of Directors