Affordable housing is a serious issue in Teton County, Wyoming. From 1970-1990, Teton County experienced job growth that far exceeded the housing supply. With the prevalence of second homes, vacation homes, and high priced property, many people employed in Teton County were forced to live outside of the community, sometimes even outside the region, often resulting in 30 to 60 mile commutes.
The impacts of this are felt by the business community and cause the gap between social and economic classes to widen. In an effort to change this trend, Teton’s Comprehensive Plan addresses this issue in the Community Character Chapter by highlighting the importance of maintaining social and economic diversity within Teton County and making recommendations to improve the current situation.
Teton County passed a text amendment in 2008 that increased the amount of the in-lieu fee, established a procedure for updating the fee annually, and published the amount of the in-lieu fee for commercial housing mitigation. This affordable housing regulation requires a developer to pay a fee-in-lieu to affordable housing development. If developers do not include an adequate amount of affordable units in their projects, they are required to pay a fee for affordable development elsewhere.
The regulation requires different amounts of fees to be contributed for different developments throughout the county. The regulation requires developers to set aside 15 percent of their units as affordable if they are constructing new subdivisions or multi-lot developments.
In addition, developers must pay in-lieu fees that are assessed for small and difficult to develop parcels. When permits are issued for the principal residential structure on a lot or parcel that existed before the adoption of the ordinance, developers are required to make in-lieu payments as well. Since smaller developments were proportionately impacted to a higher degree, a provision exempting the first 2,000 square feet of habitable floor area from fees was included in the ordinance.
Although some communities view set aside requirements as strict and a hindrance to development, Teton County offers a compliance measure for their affordable housing payment-in-lieu regulation which allows varying amounts of fees to contribute to and increase the affordable housing supply, thus supporting development in the process.
Teton County Affordable Housing Standards for Residential Development – PDF
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