Editorial: Big steps for Eagle County housing
Vail CO, Colorado
If you’re not the retired CEO of a Fortune 500 company and you want to buy a home in Eagle County, your prospects appear to have improved.
Eagle County has reached a deal with a private developer to build more than 220 affordable homes at the Stratton Flats development in Gypsum. Construction is supposed to start in the spring on homes that will be restricted to Eagle County workers.
Vail, meanwhile, is starting to talk about how it will spend the money it collects from developers under strict new rules that require builders to provide housing along with all new projects. While not as concrete as the Stratton Flats deal, it shows some local governments are doing what they can in a tight market to try to ensure the middle class survives in resort real estate country.
The Stratton Flats deal also shows that a town, Gypsum, and the county can work together to create housing. Such cooperation is only way to put a dent in the housing problem.
Like the vanishing animal species that are early signs of climate change, we’re starting to see the middle class slide downvalley and disappear. One Vail Village restaurant stopped serving lunch two days a week because it could find enough competent kitchen help.
Some argue that in a capitalist society it’s not government’s role to subsidize or provide housing. Some argue market forces take care of all problems for the good of all.
But the problems of one Vail restaurant are solid proof that building affordable housing isn’t just about giving people a ski country address.
It’s about keeping good workers around and making sure the valley’s economy doesn’t collapse.
Because all the wealthy skiers will stop visiting if service deteriorates thanks to good old market forces chasing the best workers away.
” Matt Zalaznick for the Editorial Board