Letter: Taxing private property owners isn’t going to solve housing crisis

This letter is in regard to the the recent article: “Avon considers its options for managing short-term rentals.” While the Town Council certainly has the authority to tax anything within the town boundaries into oblivion, I have to ask why are private property owners being held responsible for the local employers’ failures for having neglected the concept of employee housing?

I have lived in the Vail Valley for 37 years, as an employee living in employee housing, a renter, a property owner, and more recently an owner of a rental property. I’m currently renting that property long-term, but am considering going into the short-term rental market. If I decide to do so, it will be as my financial situation dictates. Not by what the town of Avon wishes I would do.

Yes, there is a severe employee housing problem! Local employers have assumed that there would always be a supply of underutilized properties which would be available and kicked the can of responsibility down the road. That short-sightedness has now come to bite them in the proverbial butt.

But taxing or restricting 318 private property owners is not going to change the current situation. Owners will merely charge more per night to cover their needs.

The real solution is to offer considerable tax breaks to developers who would build more projects such as the Piedmont over by Walmart. A single project could easily provide 300+ dedicated units, far offsetting those STR units which the town of Avon would like to control. Or even better yet: How about taxing the businesses in the valley to cover those tax breaks, since they are the direct beneficiaries of those developments!

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But either way it should be the employers being held responsible for housing their employees, not private property owners.

Ric Reiter


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