I believe the community has realized great value and benefit from employee housing. I am a supporter. I also believe that it is time to change our approach to affordable housing.
Our schools are at the same enrollment levels as “the good old days,” which suggests to me that 60 percent of employees who work here also live here (and employment numbers support this supposition). Adding more of the same affordable units hurts existing owners — try selling your old unit when competing with new units.
I believe we should seek new ideas in affordable housing. Ideas that reduce subsidy while creating more opportunity and diversity with our real estate markets — for locals who otherwise choose to invest in other communities and move, and those in existing employee housing. To the righties in Aspen, I say the business of Aspen is improved with a vibrant, prosperous local community. Our community sets us apart in the competitive resort business. The businesses of Aspen are improved by having access to local workers and local customers who live here. To the lefties, I say that allowing a middle market that provides locals with more housing opportunities to choose from, a more diverse real estate market and actually allows more opportunity to prosper from that unit, is also a good thing.
I believe in affordable housing mitigation, where developers provide affordable housing to gain permission to develop new projects. Developers produce housing as a profession. Governments are inefficient developers who, in my view, should be not be in the real estate development business. The idea of raising housing development fees so high that no one will develop seems counter productive to me, a supporter of more affordable housing. Obviously this will leave no one to develop housing except the government, who will take that money anywhere they can get it and waste a lot of it.
I prefer to see professionals developing our affordable housing, not the government. When a developer provides affordable housing as mitigation there is zero cash subsidy from the community.