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Cheaper homes may mean more government

VAIL ” A group that’s been studying local worker housing says that ” after months of study ” they are finally ready for some action.

A temporary, countywide housing committee will recommend the creation of a permanent, countywide group at the Blue Ribbon Housing Committee meeting Thursday.

“Here’s the vessel we think should be built,” said Don Cohen, the group’s facilitator. “Here are the compass points it needs to head toward.”



Cohen described the group as a “countywide entity.” He declined to say whether it would have a government authority or taxation powers, saying those details would be revealed Thursday.

Local towns and the county would be expected to contribute to the “entity,” Cohen said.



A regional approach is important, said Avon Mayor Ron Wolfe, who helped come up with the recommendations.

“It’s a regional problem, that’s the basic reason,” Wolfe said. “It’s not a single-town issue in which each town can be reasonably expected to solve the problem of all the workers involved in the town.”

The recommendations will be presented Thursday at a meeting of the Blue Ribbon Housing Committee, which is made up of local officials from across the county as well as developers, bankers and real estate agents.



The blue-ribbon panel was created after the Urban Land Institute, a think tank, studied the employee housing problem during a weeklong residency here.

The “entity” could be an information clearinghouse for deed-restricted housing or it could advertise and broker the sales of affordable homes, Wolfe said.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Wolfe said.

The town of Avon continues to draft employee housing requirements for developers. A few months ago, Vail passed its own set of rules.

This might be the last meeting for the Blue Ribbon Housing Committee, Cohen said.

“I think we are at the point where we’re ready to stop talking and do something,” he said.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.


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