27 Jan

What’s 400 Times Larger than Smith’s?

Time to Shut it Down

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.



5 comment on “What’s 400 Times Larger than Smith’s?

  • Oooh, Oooh, the evil “M” word! I concur with your points and would add that our economy has transitioned to a new era of a workforce of telecommuters from an under utilized workforce. So this population of telecommuters compete for the limited housing stock. I have not read of any proposed changes to the zoning that replaces commercial zoning with UR-Urban Residential to encourage development of multifamily housing preferably apartments. That being said, I don’t know that the “locals” have bought into a more urban environment in town. Finally, why have the elected officials accepted the monkey on their back of providing workforce housing? Commercial real estate development follows rooftops regardless if occupied by a worker, tourist or wealthy retiree. Round and round we go.

  • Thank you M Grumble for stating it like it is…. This communities perspective’s and conclusions regarding growth are upside down its pretty crazy really. Thank you Ray for your comment regarding no proposed zoning changes to encourage development of multi family housing. Where is the leadership from the Council. It’s very interesting watching the last 8 years of Council work being unraveled and decimated within basically 2 years by the current group of elected’s Not sure why we bothered with the massive efforts we all gave it in the first place.

  • This town leadership is a joke, as are most of the people that live here. THE END.

  • When writing articles to make a point, it’s best served by accurate facts. The average size home in Teton County is nothing like 16,000 sq.ft. Or even 10,000 sq.ft. For that matter. And the notion that there are 100 ten thousand square foot house built a year in this county is simply not supported by the facts. The discussion regarding the Marriot is a legitimate one and posits a simple question; the Marriot development moved out a dozen low income families and will now require 100 employees but was only required to provide a half dozen housing unit. How is this kind of developement sustainable and is healthy for the community at large? Can this be done better and smarter and with less deleterious impact on our way of life? These are legitimate conversations to have.

  • <<>>

    Huh? Are you crazy? Every housekeeper has about five kids and her husband is a stone hoddy building a $400K chimmney.

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