Mountain News: Converted continue to preach wisdom of infill 

Compiled by Allen Best

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. — In Jackson the converted continue to preach the virtues of infill development, otherwise known as density in lieu of sprawl.

A town planning commissioner, Greg Miles, recently attended a conference in Portland to study that city’s infill development. "What a cool town," he reported upon returning. "Portland has fully embraced smart growth and green building techniques."

All development, he explained, must go within a pre-determined boundary. The result: "The city ends, bingo. There’s a clear definite boundary."

In November 62 per cent of Jackson voters killed a higher density development for the town core, in part out of fears it would foster a more city-like atmosphere. However, opponents also noted that the increased density within the city was not coupled with a commitment from the county commissioners to put more of a lid on development beyond city limits.

Rebuffed by voters, Jackson town officials continue to attack the density issue from another perspective. They are now creating a rezoning that would allow smaller lot sizes. With smaller lot sizes, they argue, the city’s less wealthy can afford to have single-family homes as an alternative to condos. As is, the existing lots in the auto-urban residential zone are large enough, 7,500 square feet, to accommodate one primary and two accessory homes.

Aspen raises ‘green’ bar on affordable housing

ASPEN, Colo. — Aspen’s next chunk of affordable housing, called Burlingame Ranch, may be much more environmentally benign, even if that pushes up the cost $1 million for 225 to 330 homes.

Aspen has an elaborate point system in its building code that is designed to push environmentally friendly construction practices, as well as measures aimed at energy efficiency in the completed buildings. All affordable housing projects must get 70 such points or more, but the last project got 130 points. This time the bar is being set at 145 points. In so doing, homes will be built in such a way that they will use 40 per cent to 70 per cent less energy than conventional homes.

County looks at capping size of houses

KETCHUM, Idaho — County officials in Blaine County, home to Ketchum and Sun Valley, are considering laws that would require affordable housing be part of new subdivisions, a concept called inclusionary zoning.

Also being considered is a cap on home sizes, to reduce the number of service workers necessary to take care of them.

Planning and zoning commission members didn’t agree on all the details, reports the Idaho Mountain Express, but the P&Z members generally said they believe the underlying concept – that large new homes require more support and generate more local jobs that need to be accommodated – was a valid one.

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