Letter: Multi-family housing under fire from the usual suspects
Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Vail. Attempts to help America’s housing affordability problem nearly always come under fire from the wealthy. Cities and towns that attempt to break the single-family residential zoning chains to build energy-efficient multi-family residential units and transportation improvements like buses and bike paths are fought tooth and nail. Meanwhile, vacation McMansions get approved and erected, torn down, and re-erected without anyone batting an eye.
Every red herring under the sun is thrown out — first it was rockfall danger, shifted to bus route overcrowding, then it was the frontage road traffic impacts. The Vail HOA campaign finally settled on wildlife which seems to have hit the right nerve in the echo chamber. But at the end of the argument, you always hear a version of this: “I’m not against affordable housing — just anywhere but here!”
Let’s be clear, opposition to the current proposed Booth Heights/East Vail project isn’t about sheep — or you’d see picket lines in front of the equally-sized mansion being built on Katsos Ranch Road. It’s about protecting a wealthy minority from living near poorer people. As the Huffington Post recently stated, civil protests “were once primarily the tools of the marginalized, they have now become a weapon of privilege — a way for older, wealthier, mostly white homeowners to drown out and intimidate anyone who challenges their hegemony.”
Families who make anywhere under $150,000 per year in this valley (yes, that’s a lot of money, and yes, there are a LOT of them) need more locally owned and occupied, energy-efficient, multi-family housing. Especially located near low-carbon bus and bike transportation to work instead of driving and paying for structured parking. Thankfully, the Vail Town Council and the Planning and Environmental Commission realize that, and have stood up for the little people. After all, it’s the residents and workers who actually bring a (ski) town to life.