It’s well known that many businesses, government agencies, and local organizations in Lander face great difficulty recruiting and retaining workforce due to a lack of housing supply, both to rent and to own. In 2020, guided by the City’s Master Plan, the Lander City Council attempted to adopt changes to Lander’s zoning code to address this shortage, but this attempt failed due to significant opposition from residents.
Lander Code Audit Project
In August of 2019, using the 2012 Lander Master Plan as a guide, a code study was launched by members of the Lander community, the Wyoming Business Council’s Housing Network, and Community Builders, an organization that assists municipalities design strong communities with healthy neighborhoods that offer diverse housing choices.
Currently, 67% of Lander residents live in single family homes, 13% live in mobile homes, and 16% live in what is known as “missing middle” housing. This kind of housing includes cottages, bungalows, and small single family homes; accessory dwelling units; townhouses and condominiums; duplexes, triplexes, and quads; and small and large apartment buildings. Given the lack of availability of single family homes in Lander, many hoping to accept jobs here, including those who are highly skilled and highly paid, simply cannot do so. Others who prefer or need smaller and more affordable “missing middle” housing cannot find it due to Lander’s very low supply or complete lack of it. Thus, the audit recommended:
- allowing accessory dwelling units in all zones
- allowing homes on smaller lots in some zones
- allowing cottage cluster housing in some zones
- providing opportunities for a wider range of housing types in some zones
- applying building form standards to ensure new housing is compatible with existing housing
- providing flexibility for accommodating parking with new housing
Reopening the Conversation
The failure to adopt these recommendations leaves Lander in its housing pickle and our local employers with job openings unfilled. Can we afford to let expected and desired services go unmet, especially in the health care field, if we fail to address the housing shortage in Lander? I welcome your comments. Call me at 332-3892 or email me at email@example.com.
- Lander Master Plan (2012)
- Aligning Land Use Code with Community Housing Goals in Lander (Completed 2020)
- Lander Code Audit Project – Zoning Code Analysis and Recommendations (Prepared for June 9, 2020 City Council hearing)
- Breaking the Code: Aligning Zoning Code with Housing Goals – A Toolkit for Wyoming Communities (June 2020)