Feburary 14, 2024

ShelterJH is a trusted resource for many community members who are concerned about our local housing crisis. We do not wish to be involved in public smear campaigns. However, we will respond with facts when the attacks are baseless.

This week, landowner Nikki Gill accused ShelterJH of spreading misinformation about the original Northern South Park proposal her family submitted in early 2020. Here are the facts:

Fact: The original proposal the Gill family submitted in January 2020 would have allotted only 30-40 of all 488 lots to Habitat for Humanity. The original proposal would have only allotted 6-8% of homes exclusively to locals via Habitat for Humanity. No other deed-restricted parcels were offered or confirmed.

Fact: In September 2020, the Gill family came forward with another proposal asking for a rezone that would have only permitted single-family homes and dormitories (no apartments or townhomes). They intended to make 65% of these single-family homes and dormitories available for locals including 30-40 lots for Habitat. However, the Gills intended to record a covenant* on the 65% to make them available to locals. This covenant* would be recorded instead of utilizing traditional deed restrictions which provide permanent affordability guarantees and limits occupants to local families. Instead, they cited their intention to build smaller homes to target lower-income families. The Planning Staff recommended a denial of this application to make way for a holistic Neighborhood Planning process. 

Fact: Later that September, the Gills returned and pledged another 50 lots to Habitat on top  of the 30-40 they had already indicated, still employing their intention to record a covenant* without specifying how the 65% of homes would be available and affordable to locals in perpetuity. Still, the community pushed for a Neighborhood Plan.

Time January 2020 September 9, 2020 September 29, 2020 2022-Now
Landowners involved Gill Family Gill Family Gill Family Gills and Lockharts
Zone change request To Auto-Urban residential (AR-TC); only allows single-family homes and dorms To AR-TC; only allows single-family homes and dorms To AR-TC; only allows single-family homes and dorms New Northern South Park overlay; opt-in zoning, allows diverse housing types
Total lot development 488 312 312 Up to 1800
Free-market homes 448-458 109 109 Up to 540
Habitat for Humanity lots 30-40 30-40 80-90 On Gill land only; a portion of the 1200 above
Homes under covenant* 0 ~163-173 ~113-123 0
Permanently deed-restricted lots 0 0 0 70% (840 with full build-out)
Source Link Link Link Neighborhood Plan

“‘It’s a good faith effort to say that the Gills are looking to make sure that 65% of the homes are available to local workers,’ Shelter JH board member Christine Walker said of the covenant. ‘The gap is there’s nothing in there about affordability and there’s no definition of what a local worker is.’ 

Using estimates realtors and developers provided the News&Guide, which put construction costs between $250 and $400 a square foot, that could put the cost of a 2,850-square -foot home, the largest allowed on a 7,500-square-foot lot in the AR-TC zone the Gill family is pursuing, between about $860,000 and $1.3 million, though the family argues that could come down by limiting square footage of the homes developed on the properties.

‘We need a deed restriction that ensures initial and permanent affordability,’ Walker said. ‘It’s the only mechanism that works long term, unless you want to create an exclusive neighborhood that’s just available to higher earning folks.’”

Source: Jackson Hole News & Guide, “Community torn over affordability of possible South Park homes,” Sept. 9, 2020