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Colorado’s Summit County also approved tax allocations for a county-wide affordable housing team that hopes to build 50 affordable housing units per year.

But while there were clear trends in many places, results were clearly confusing in Wyoming’s Jackson. There, the two choices for the town council by voters were a study in contrast. Melissa Turley is both youngish and a newcomer, and she advocates the smart-growth policies of taller buildings and increased density, presuming that this can be used to reduce rural sprawl. The second-highest vote getter, Bob Lenz, is a long-time resident, older, and opposes growth — and certainly taller buildings.

In a way, this is the major issue that Jackson has argued about for several years — without resolution.

“People are undecided what should happen in Jackson,” explains Angus Thuermer, co-editor of the Jackson Hole News & Guide. “They see some merit to going up (in height), but yet they don’t want the town square to be in shadows six months a year because the buildings are so tall.”


Action on housing front

KETCHUM, Idaho – The Wood River Valley is rapidly taking action to respond to a growing shortage of affordable housing.

Ketchum, at the base of the Sun Valley ski area, recently approved linkages, requiring affordable housing when new residential and commercial projects are built. A down-valley town, Bellevue, within the last month has also passed both a linkage requirement and a companion law, called inclusionary zoning, which demands lower-priced housing whenever a subdivision is created.

Meanwhile, the Blaine-Ketchum Housing Authority is getting some legs, although how strong they are remains to be seen. The Housing Authority is being regionalized to the entire valley, but the Blaine County government and the City of Ketchum are providing the seed money. The thinking is that once on its feet, the group can begin developing property for affordable housing, and will no longer need specific assistance from local governments.

Just how this is to be done wasn’t explained by the Idaho Mountain Express, but the newspaper did quote one Ketchum city councilor to the same effect: “The whole picture to me is still a little muddied,” said Terry Tracy.

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