Letter: The housing question
Is it availability? Affordability? Short-term vs long-term? Is the workforce housing really housing-employed workers? Richard Carnes stated, “Happy Valley is not any larger, and the number of businesses is relatively static…” So what’s going on?
Yes, there are lots of questions based on the theory of supply and demand. And I don’t have the answers. But what I do know is that we will never be able to build to meet the demand of people wanting to live in this valley.
So what we must do is monitor who is occupying our workforce housing and build for that level of demand. Monitor and maintain and make a priority preserving as much open space as possible. And then look for other alternatives.
I read with interest the town of Eagle’s Planning and Zoning Commission discussing Accessory Apartments in Owner-Occupied Single-Family Dwellings on Nov. 2. Why not consider that? Encourage owners to license and offer their lockoff units. Change zoning to allow an addition to an existing structure or even an additional stand-alone building that could be used for long-term rental or perhaps as a “granny unit.” Major home builders are now successfully planning and building “Next-Gen” homes. Another zoning change may encourage apartments over two-car garages. And then there’s that huge hole east of the Ascent. Wouldn’t that be the perfect location for a major workforce housing development?
One other consideration: We must keep who/what we have. There are many long-time and permanent residents we know and care about who depend on the income they derive from providing short- or long-term housing. It’s pretty clear real estate taxes are going to go up. Inflation is everywhere you look. And we all hear stories of someone we know or work with who is leaving, but might stay if they could just have that little bit more income.
I will finish with what I stated earlier: “We will never be able to build to meet the demand of people wanting to live in this valley.” We must look around and realize we are a valley surrounded by unbuildable mountains. There is a limit. At this point we must be smart. Be strong. Take stock and maybe, just maybe, say stop! No more! At least take a breath while we figure it out.