How much home do you need? |

How much home do you need?

Many of you probably got wind of a recent study that showed that while the American family is shrinking, their homes are growing, a lot.

Colorado ranks no. 4 among all states when it comes to having big homes. About 26 percent of Colorado homes have four bedrooms or more. Consider that the average size of a new home in America is 2,434 square feet, according to National Association of Home Builders.

But hey, that’s nothing here. There are condos bigger than that in Eagle County.

And that’s funny, especially here in Eagle County, where every square foot of land seems priceless, every square foot of building costs at least twice the usual cost to build, and there are hordes of workers who say they just want a little place they can call their own.

And for those who doubt them, there really are workers who just want a little place they can call their own.

But there are plenty of the rest of us who say we can’t afford to buy anything here. But what we really mean is we can’t afford to buy a 2,500 square-foot, single-family home with a yard by a ski slope.

That’s where the affordable housing discussion ” a really good, meritable discussion, by the way ” starts losing credibility.

And that’s a serious shame.

It does seem that people who work hard for a living, who earn what would be considered good salaries in most parts of the country, should be able to own homes here.

So many of the people who fit that description are considered vital members of our community. Because of that, it makes since for governments and business, public and private entities, to try to ensure this group’s survival in Eagle County.

But it truly isn’t the taxpayer’s job to subsidize 4,000-square-foot McMansions with two rooms for every child.

When I read stories about Miller Ranch homeowners complaining they need basements, I start to cringe.

We had a column run on this page not so long ago about what seemed to be a really, thoughtful exercise that would illustrate how dire our affordable housing shortage is.

Instead, we read about a frankly greedy prospective homebuyer who was upset that she’d have to move all the way to Eagle to find anything that fit her size and style requirements.

What are we really trying to fix here? A shortage of affordable housing, or a shortage of affordable, luxury finishes?

So thanks, greedy girl, for making such an important cause look so petty. While you’re whining about being able to only afford a dated two-bedroom, there are families of five living in places just as small.

Edwards’ Miller Ranch, the county’s big experiment in building an affordable neighborhood, was a success.

The county still learned lessons from the project ” maybe there should have been rental units. Maybe the homes could have been built a little better.

But taxpayer dollars should be used to get people in the door, not to get them into a dream home.

Opinion/Projects Editor Tamara Miller can be reached at 748-2936, or

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