ShelterJH Policy Platform

ShelterJH, the only independent housing advocacy organization in Teton County, builds grassroots support and political power to address housing insecurity in the Tetons.

This platform encompasses our current policy goals that have been vetted by our members and board. 

FUNDING

1. Establish dedicated public funding
It is impossible to build a modest home for a family earning median income in Teton County without substantial investment. There is a subsidy needed to build homes for anyone earning less than about 200% of median income ($246,000 for a family of 4), and the shortfall increases as household incomes decrease. The investment can come from local public funds, state/federal public funds, philanthropy, or regulatory incentives. We support permanent and dedicated local, state, and/or federal sources of revenue to create and preserve homes that local workers can afford to rent or purchase. To protect this community investment, we insist on permanent deed restrictions, regardless of whether the investment is in the form of direct funding, density bonuses or regulatory relief.

  • We support funding housing through SPET (sales tax) and are currently analyzing the measures on November’s ballot
  • We support new state revenue streams—specifically a real estate taxand see an opportunity for progress in Cheyenne over the next two years 
  • We support the Pilot Preservation Program that helps keep existing homes in workforce ownership, so that as workers retire they can sell to younger workers instead of to second-home owners
  • Finally, we support property tax abatement programs so that low-income homeowners and renters are not pushed out by property tax increases, and a sliding scale so that second-homeowners pay more in property taxes

ZONING & LAND USE

2. Build out Northern South Park

We’re excited about the opportunity to provide homes for local workers in Northern South Park (NSP) and address our housing crisis. We believe it’s the right place and the right time. The NSP preferred alternative is a great plan to house our local workers (and families and retirees), and we are thrilled to see so much potential for new homes for our community members—especially our neighbors with lower incomes and higher need. As a “yes in my backyard” organization, we have learned over the years that unless there are deed restrictions tied to specific incomes and with appreciation caps to ensure permanent affordability, only the most advantaged people working here can gain access to these places to live. We support this “inclusionary” approach in all upzones, not just NSP.

3. Make it easier to build homes that locals can afford

Our zoning codes make it hard to build anything other than single-family homes, the most expensive type of homes, and don’t require that “upzoned” new units be reserved for local workers. “Missing middle” homes like duplexes, fourplexes, and cottage courts are less expensive to construct and maintain, fit seamlessly into existing residential neighborhoods, and support walkability, locally-serving retail, and public transportation options. Further opening up zoning to allow more density and height for affordable units, and legalizing accessory units (ARUs) or homes on wheels (i.e. parking an RV in a yard) would also help people in need.

  • We support bringing back inclusionary zoning for all annexations and up-zones, which would require that most new units are affordable for local workers. Doing this up front creates transparency on community benefit expectations for any upzones and annexations (like the next NSP), without the emotion generated from a specific development proposal
  • We also support amending the Land Development Regulations to diversify housing options and make zoning more flexible in town, Wilson, the Aspens, and the other “complete neighborhoods” outlined in the Comprehensive Plan. This includes allowing more density, more height, less (or no) parking requirements; and allowing more ARUs and homes on wheels

4. Enact a temporary moratorium

Every new luxury condo, short-term rental project, and mega-mansion makes our housing crisis worse. We believe our community needs to push the pause button on development—except deed-restricted housing reserved for locals—so we have time to recalibrate our zoning and permitting regulations. A moratorium would pause all development except affordable homes, and the pause would give us time to ensure we are incentivizing the kinds of development we want to see in our community. 

  • We support a moratorium on all non-affordable housing/lodging projects until the Town and County can rewrite the rules to make it easier to build for locals, and harder to build projects that make our housing crisis worse

5. Require developers to build or pay for housing for the new jobs they create

Our community has had housing mitigation rules for decades that require developers to pay their fair share for the impact their profitable projects have on our community. Recently, a few Jackson Hole landowners went to Cheyenne to threaten state legislation overturning our local democracy’s decision that they should have to pay their fair share. In response, Town Council and County Commission cut the requirements in half, and decided to come back to the question next year after gathering new data. 

  • We support setting mitigation rules based on the data from the Housing Nexus Study (showing how many jobs/workers each kind of development generates), instead of being influenced by political pressure from landowners, developers, or Cheyenne

6. Support homes for workers in Legacy Lodge

Our community has a great opportunity to repurpose Legacy Lodge into apartments for local workers. We support this, as long as the apartments are rented at affordable rates. We would also support maintaining the facility for housing for elders, but if that is not possible we would be excited to see housing for workers. 

7. Support a new and improved Fairgrounds, and building housing at the current location

The Fair Board, Town and County are considering moving the Fairgrounds and Rodeo concession to a more appropriate location on agricultural land. This relocation would improve access for trailers, create a newer and better space for equestrian uses, and provide an opportunity to build a state-of-the-art events complex.  It would also free up a large plot of publicly-owned land in downtown Jackson which could be used for housing our community members.

  • We support a collaborative process with the Fair Board and the many community members (i.e. 4H) who enjoy the fairgrounds to make a plan to move the Fairgrounds and then to build a significant amount of housing on the current site

COLLABORATION

8. Build a Partnership Framework
It takes a community to build a community. We have many strong organizations working toward housing, but we don’t yet have an effective platform for collaboration. We support the novel “Housing Council” approach that has worked in the Tahoe region and brings together all key stakeholders (housing groups, social service organizations, businesses, large landowners, realtors, conservationists, developers, etc.) in a partnership framework that is fully staffed and facilitated to solve our housing challenge together.

  • We support public or philanthropic leadership funding to hire a facilitator and kick off a “Teton Housing Council” in 2023