Mixed Use Development and Comprehensive Planning

Commercial Real Estate Agent with Kingswood Co.

The Comprehensive Plan re-write and the debate that preceded it, has presented many compelling argumentson the pro’s and con’s of the PMUD tool.  For a moment, let’s keep our heads above water, keep our minds free of ratio and density bonus details and focus philosophically on what a Mixed-Use Development really is.

By definition, Mixed-Use Development = France = Italy = all of the UK = all of Europe, plus much of Boston, New York, San Francisco etc.  Mixed-Use Development is a contemporary description for the evolution of logical means-based communities.  What do I mean by this?  Simple, communities evolved as groups of people worked together to provide the goods and services needed to sustain life, provide shelter, education and places of worship.  Early communities endorsed the principal of sharing, something we teach our kids to do, but rarely practice ourselves.  There was no concept of acquiring material possessions – simply the desire to deliver the staples to sustain life. 

Consider the benefits. 

- A market, deli, bakery, coffee shop, restaurant, bar, school, church and pharmacy all within walking distance of your home;

- A place of business within walking distance of your home;

- No consumer society driving to collect material possessions = less packaging waste;

- No consumer society driving to collect material possessions = no vehicle emissions;

No wonder siesta is a popular part of the culture.  Imagine how much time you would have if you weren’t driving to work, to school or to the supermarket.  Now think briefly about the merits of a nap after lunch – it’s pretty invigorating.

Back to the topic after nap time, how does Mixed-Use Development translate into our country, culture and climate?  Here’s a quick list of the Pro’s, Con’s and Challenges:


- Reduces Urban Sprawl/Footprint/Impact on Wildlife;

- Reduces Traffic/Reliance on Car based Transportation;

- Builds Community Activity + Spirit;

- Promotes Efficiency in Services – schools, sewer, water, public transport system, thereby reducing taxes and improving community infrastructure;


- Density (A matter of preference/cultural disposition/habit).  Some folks don’t like to live in medium or high-density accommodation.


- Diversity in property types (i.e. sizes, floor plans etc.).  This is key.  A balanced community is one that represents all members – young, old and various cultures.  A three level home is not going to suit a young family or a aged couple.

There are no simple answers here or conclusions to be drawn – right vs. wrong.  The key is this – we all need to live harmoniously and share our resources in order to sustain life.  If you can’t live with neighbors, go ahead and live in the barn, tend the farm and provide the essential food to your community.  If you’re a teacher, pharmacist, store keeper or student, live within your community and play your part in contributing by conserving resources, consuming only what you need to sustain life.

Above all;

- get out of your car and walk, and

- don’t be afraid to meet your neighbors – they may even like you.

Meagan Hill is a Commercial Real Estate Investments Specialist and Principal of NAI Jackson Hole servicing the Jackson Hole WY and Teton Valley ID markets.

For further information, contact Meagan at (307) 734-8700 or meagan@naijacksonhole.com



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