Letter: Leave land-use decisions to local communities
Eagle County has had a shortage of affordable housing since Vail opened in 1962. Senate Bill 23-213 is not going to solve that problem.
History has proven that trying to outbuild demand in a resort area to lower prices simply does not work. Any unrestricted new housing will go to the highest bidder and right now we have a shortage of second homes. Those buyers will bid up the price.
History has also shown that land-use decisions are best made locally because of the myriad complexities in terms of infrastructure and environmental decisions. To apply one size fits all to land use here and say Kit Carson, Colorado, (which has lost population) is a terrible approach to governance.
The Colorado Department of Local Affairs would be charged with making decisions on zoning density and to a yet unknown degree, approvals of new housing developments, has no experience in such matters. There is no mandate that DOLA hold local meetings for public input or that officials even bother to do a site visit. What is now publicly decided upon at a town hall meeting will be decided behind closed doors in Denver.
Allowing accessory dwelling units to be built within any neighborhood that otherwise allows single-family homes means duplex units can be duplexed, and likely townhomes and some condos can be subdivided into multiple units. Avon Town Manager Eric Heil told the Avon Council that many experts feel a single unit could probably be divided into up to six units under this law.
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If you live in a duplex or a townhome that is governed by a party wall agreement, it’s likely that the document restricts each unit to be occupied as a single residential unit. Under this legislation, If your duplex neighbor wants to carve his place into six studio apartments, you can’t even suggest that he add some additional parking spaces, nor can you demand that he only allow as many cars as are parking spaces available. If he wants to put a modular home unit to enlarge his home there may be nothing you can do about it, regardless of what your party wall says about exterior additions being approved by both parties. The local Design Review Board would be powerless to intervene in most instances.
I have started a website and online petition at LetLocalsDecide.com to gather comments and support to defeat this bill. If you feel that this is not a law you want, then please sign it and the signatures will be delivered to the State Senate and House.