Stripping Commercial zoning from the Comp Plan may make you feel good, but it won’t do anything.
The view espoused by groups like Save Historic Jackson Hole (three guys from Palm Beach, Pennsylvania, and upstate New York) is that commercial development is responsible for all problems Jackson.
This is mostly a well-constructed red herring.
The Marriott Hotel is this year’s Dick Edgecomb – how dare these evil out-of-town bastards even think of building a hotel in this sacred tourist town of ours.
Lets stipulate… The Marriott is one of two hotels built in Jackson in the last 10-15 years. We have less hotel rooms in Jackson than we did 20 years ago. Much of the hotel room stock is aged or decrepit. This is the truth. Those are facts.
The Marriott is less than 100,000 square feet, but lets say it is because math needs to be easy. Now that’s a lot bigger that the average big-ass house built in Teton County – about 10000 square ft. – really more like 16,000 – but again, easy math.
There have been about 100 of these 10,000 square foot homes built here each year. It has been like that for at least 20 years. 100x10000x20=20,000000. 20 million square feet is the same as building 400 Smiths grocery stores or 200 Marriott’s.
Each home built requires an army of construction workers, tradesmen, architects, landscapers, snowplow drivers, and of course, planners. They all need a place to live and their kids need to go to school, etc. Do you see where this is going?
The Marriott has probably 100 employees, but the vast majority of them are seasonal. No Kids, no schools. They come, they work and, much like a hooker, they leave when it’s over. The Large Home Industry is more like herpes; it erupts in unsightly blemishes and never goes away.
This is never a subject for discussion at the planning meetings. Nor is the proliferation of the Non Profit Industry who, unlike commercial, doesn’t pay any taxes or housing fees to help cover the infrastructure. But they do take up housing units and have kids that need schools, etc. Know what I mean?
After years of the planning effort we are told a few weeks back that it is Institutional development that is the big job creator. Schools, Libraries, Rec Centers, and Churches all require full time employees with kids who need schools, etc.
So, with all this on the table, we have decided to stop Commercial Development but leave Institutional, Non-Profit, and Big Ass Homes with basically no end in sight.
I won’t leave this problem on the table without a solution – that just wouldn’t be right.
Instead of a hundred building permits for Big Ass Houses – let’s make it 10 a year. Yes, just ten a year. That would slow down growth considerably. You could even auction them off to the highest bidder and use the money to pay for the Fire Department or Animal Shelter.
Better yet, lets demand a moratorium on all new construction.