Vail Daily column: Look to forest for housing
July 14, 2016
As a candidate for state representative from Colorado House District 26, which consists of Eagle and Routt counties, I have a partial solution to help provide affordable housing for hundreds and hundreds of ski area employees. Let's put pressure on our federal officials to designate free forest land on Vail, Beaver Creek and Steamboat ski mountains for ski area employee housing. Remember, the U.S. Forest Service works for us. And, we granted the ski area operators a virtual, 50-year monopoly to manage our land for our recreation purposes.
Vail Councilman Greg Moffet, a moderate Republican, called the idea "genius."
Vail resident Stephen Connolly, who is registered unaffiliated, said the idea was "the most novel idea presented" at a recent Vail housing meeting.
Avon Mayor Pro Tem Jake Wolf, a Democrat, said there are more than four win-wins available.
Clearly, this is a non-partisan issue and emblematic of my campaign to be your state representative to try to help fix problems.
4 Win-Wins Available
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• Young, 21-year-old winter workers will not need to bring their cars to our counties, thereby helping to alleviate a parking problem, because they can walk or ski to work.
• Young workers tend to enjoy happy hour after work. Remember when you were 21? Happy hour sometimes doesn't end until 10 p.m. or midnight. Heavily imbibed young people won't have to take the county bus home and can't be drunk and disorderly if they don't need to ride it. Also, taxpayers may not be paying the subsidized approximate $6 per bus ride, and there will be less wear and tear on our buses.
• Young workers who have cars can't drive home drunk and our roads will be safer — therefore fewer DUIs. The courts won't be as clogged, meaning less work for judges' caseloads.
• Hundreds and hundreds of employees who can live the dream of skiing to work won't be needing the already existing housing throughout the rest of our counties, and won't need to lie to landlords by signing a year's lease, when they know they will only be there for ski season. Less hassle for landlords — more units available for year-round employees.
In my own survey, 95 of 100 people asked about this proposal support this effort. They come from all political persuasions. Let's return the Colorado House back to common-sense decision-making that doesn't raise our cost of living.
Michael Cacioppo, an Avon resident, can be reached at Political2@BusinessBriefs.net and you can call or text him at 970-280-5555.
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