Carnes: Was, is, and always will be
I remember first hearing the politically correct oxymoronic phrase “affordable housing” in Happy Valley just after Reagan was elected to his second term. I suppose now it should be referred to as “woke housing.”
It was a problem then, is certainly a problem now, and most assuredly will be a problem long after most of us are gone, unless, of course, the ski industry goes the way of the dodo bird, or perhaps the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.
Either way, housing — affordable or not — will always be an issue for those having to work for a living, which just happens to be a category most people belong in, and the hoopla surrounding Booth Heights is no exception.
On the right hand there are the “Haves” not wanting to be forced to co-exist with the “Ain’tGots” who are simply fighting for a shorter commute so they can wait on the “Haves” — and we should be ashamed of ourselves for even thinking of allowing the hired help to come in through the front door and daring to live in the same town where they are employed.
Oh, and let’s protect the sheep.
On the left hand, we have corporate types asserting their employees need more affordable housing close to where they work if Vail Mountain, Beaver Creek Resort and the entire Vail Valley community are to remain the world’s premiere mountain destination.
Oh, and to hell with the sheep.
Personally I think “East Siberia” is a horrible location for housing of any kind, but that’s just me (in case you couldn’t guess, I think it’s too cold over there). Plus, it really would be a Front Door of sorts as the first thing guests see when finishing the trek down the west side of Vail Pass, and call me selfish, but I’d rather their eager eyes be treated to grazing sheep herds and home roof lines than a massive apartment complex.
This ain’t Summit County.
Over 20 years ago on this very page (September 2002), I wrote a column in support of the Middle Creek Affordable Housing Project, which we all know as that not-as-big-as-it-looks building north of the Main Vail roundabout next to the giant microwave tower now known as Middle Creek Village.
The town of Vail did an admirable job in approving the project, as it doesn’t look like a “housing project” (itself a degrading — oops, anti-woke — term) and no guests are looking that direction at that point because they’re already enthralled with gawking at the ski mountain.
Oh, and there weren’t any sheep involved.
So yes, I’m all for a proposed land exchange to keep the project within town borders, whether it be the Never-NeverLand project some called EverVail and suggested by Merv Lapin and other former town leaders in last week’s Vail Daily or perhaps Middle Creek Village — West, just so long as it’s east of Dowd Junction.
And they need to build another one west of Dowd Junction for Beaver Creek workers as well.
Vail Resorts has many issues to deal with after the just-ended debacle of over-serving passes and under-serving guests, but if all this was a ploy to simply increase the value of a piece of land Vail Resorts officials didn’t even know they owned until 2016, well then, good on them for being business-savvy, but to hell with them for doing it on the backs of those who represent them to the guests.
I suppose the sheep will be happy either way though.
Richard Carnes, of Avon, writes weekly. He can be reached at email@example.com.