Our View: Talk is cheap, housing isn’t | VailDaily.com

Our View: Talk is cheap, housing isn’t

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail CO, Colorado

Another ski season, another labor shortage.

Another example of how Vail’s housing supply is hurting Vail’s economy.

This winter, Vail businesses aren’t just having a hard time finding decent help, they’re having a hard time finding any help. Some business owners say the labor shortage is worse than ever, and could force some shops and restaurants to close earlier or provide tourists a less-than-world-class customer experience.

We’ve been hearing these dire warnings for years, though. It’s clear all the housing coalitions and blue-ribbon commissions in the world won’t change a thing until we get serious about doing real, measurable things that can make a difference.

The Vail Town Council must address this issue aggressively while negotiating with the Texas developer Open/Hillwood over the redevelopment of Timber Ridge, the town’s affordable housing complex. The developer has proposed rebuilding the complex with 1,200 rental beds. That would double the amount of rental beds on Timber Ridge now.

Vail also has adopted housing laws that require developers compensate for some of the new jobs they create.

But if Vail is serious about its goal of keeping 30 percent of its workforce in town, more needs to be done.

It’s time Vail take another look at its real estate transfer tax, or RETT funds. That fund collects a 1 percent tax on real estate every time it changes hands in Vail. The town expects to collect $7.2 million in the RETT fund next year, which can only be used for open space, parks, recreation and environmental programs.

When the fund was created in 1980, preserving open space in Vail was the community’s priority. Today, affordable housing is, according to the most recent town survey.

It’s time Vail put its money where its mouth is. Expanding RETT’s use to include affordable housing would be wise move.

” Tamara Miller for the Editorial Board

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