Who's responsible for affordable housing?

Discussion in 'General Skiing' started by Tricia, May 17, 2019 at 6:33 AM.

  1. Tricia

    Tricia The Velvet Hammer Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    This latest article from the Vail Daily takes on the responsibility of government in the quest for affordable housing in ski communities.

    From the article:
    Affordable housing (subsidized housing for low-income people) and housing affordability (the ability of people to pay for housing) have been an issue in Eagle County since the chairlifts started turning in the 1960s.
    <snip>
    “Rather than promise the impossible—making housing affordable by decree—municipal governments should embrace practical solutions. They should adopt land-use and building code regulations that reduce development costs. They should expedite approval processes, lower impact fees and taxes, and reduce other unnecessary regulations. Only by adopting measures that trim development costs can municipal governments stimulate the production of new housing that is more affordable for everyone.”


    This is not a new topic on Pugski, but its an ongoing issue in ski communities.
    https://www.pugski.com/threads/left...f-seasonal-workers-in-the-ski-industry.15323/
    https://www.pugski.com/threads/the-american-ski-bums-fading-dream.13115/
    https://www.pugski.com/threads/ski-town-wealth-gap-widens.2670/
    https://www.pugski.com/threads/can-you-still-double-down-on-being-a-ski-bum-in-reno.2897/
     
  2. scott43

    scott43 Making fresh tracks Skier

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    I don't know what his angle is..but..reducing costs is the mantra of developers..but that doesn't mean cheaper houses necessarily..it means higher profits usually. There are a few things to remember...people have a right to develop land the way they want to..I suspect this is a much stronger argument in the States than here. And you have elected officials..who are trying to keep both sides happy. Dense rental housing doesn't make rich neighbours happy..and rich neighbours vote. And you have to find builders who want to build rental housing as opposed to more expensive and profitable condo housing. And I don't think your current gov't has the appetite for gov't subsidies or incentives.. They could pay higher wages.. It's a sticky bun.... Good luck.
     
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  3. graham418

    graham418 Out on the slopes Skier

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    Affordable housing is an issue in many cities, not just resort towns . It is an issue that is hard to solve , especially in cities where land costs have gone sky high. There have been many solutions put forward, and some of them have worked, others not so much. Reducing development costs and regulations can lead to sprawl and perhaps other unintended issues .
    Government regulations such as rent controls tend to distort the market, and are a disincentive to new construction. Other deregulation can lead to a lack of infrastructure to support new communities . It is a complex issue , and we may not find the solution in our lifetimes.
     
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  4. Mike Thomas

    Mike Thomas Whiteroom Pugski Sponsor

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    Trickle down economics, WooHoo!!!!!

    It really works so well Every.Single.Time

    (Obviously I disagree with the "help the rich save money so they use that money to invest in projects that, while profitable, aren't the quickest and easiest way to make a buck, but they help the poor" theory)
     
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  5. Wilhelmson

    Wilhelmson Out on the slopes Skier

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    Well higher taxes make everything less affordable....

    At least on paper Eagle County zoning is pretty accommodative but only mentions the word affordable once, so it's not a high priority among voters and politicians. https://www.eaglecounty.us/WorkArea/linkit.aspx?LinkIdentifier=id&ItemID=8389

    Typically there would be an affordable (<80% median income) component which provides for higher density provided around 10% of units are affordable. Even with smaller lot sizes developers will maximize their profit unless prodded to do otherwise. People cringe at the term affordable, but around average Boston suburbs based on income limits "affordable" would be around $500,000 for a new 3 bedroom home or $2,000/month for a 2 bedroom rental unit. Works out to about 30% of gross income.
     


  6. scott43

    scott43 Making fresh tracks Skier

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    For whom....
     
  7. scott43

    scott43 Making fresh tracks Skier

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    I'm pretty sure the voters and politicians would like the workers to fly in on faeries' wings and disappear when they're not needed into some place they don't have to be seen..and certainly they don't want to pay them any more than absolutely necessary... I could be wrong..or deeply jaded.. :D
     
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  8. Thread Starter
    TS
    Tricia

    Tricia The Velvet Hammer Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    I agree with you.
    Just because the developer saves some aggravation and expense, doesn't mean it will be passed down to the intended tenant.
     
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  9. crgildart

    crgildart Gravity Slave Skier

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    Low wage workers (and their high dollar employers) get subsidized by the government via food and housing assistance, especially if they have kids. Is it enough to survive in or around a ski town? Who knows. Is that the way it should be? Who knows. There are some firms that provide housing for their employees to keep the other labor costs close to zero,. US Military and Foxconn come to mind.

    Ultimately, like with most ski school models now, the strategy is to hire people more interested in the fringe benefits and lifestyle than people who are truly looking for a full time, living wage career.
     
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  10. scott43

    scott43 Making fresh tracks Skier

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    Interestingly, rental housing is generally more expensive to build..it's generally built to a higher standard than retail condo housing. Condos are slippery because a builder constructs the building and walks away. They sell (often) ahead of construction so the building is purchased before it's constructed. Once it goes to condo, you now have 20 or 50 or 200 individual owners and what can often be an incompetent board structure and the builder walks away. Rental housing is being built for one owner..and they are much harder on the builder.
     
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  11. Nancy Hummel

    Nancy Hummel Ski more, talk less. Instructor

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    I think the strategy by most resorts is to maximize profits in any way they can. This may result in hiring people who do not rely on the income to live and eat.
    Part time, non benefited positions are way less expensive for the resorts.
     
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  12. BS Slarver

    BS Slarver Formally known as Catskill Carver Skier

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    Just went to the big sky hospital for a routine check up.
    The receptionist was contemplating relocating and looking for work elsewhere. She just found out that she doesn’t make enough money to qualify for the new low income housing being built. In order to qualify one needs to make between 50 and 80K per year - that’s low income? I’m fairly certain that the liftie or local whos parents can fudge the tax numbers will have an inroad on the low income housing only flip their unit a few years later when they can no longer afford it after the value goes up and they turn a profit.

    I have yet to see it work in a resort community.

    Public meeting in town last night about development in and around town last night, the entire village is one giant construction zone at the moment.
     
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  13. scott43

    scott43 Making fresh tracks Skier

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    So I googled him..he's the president of the chamber of commerce..so he's looking out for businesses. So that kind of explains his intent.

    The other thing is, how do you determine who is low income? Many people are very good at hiding income and assets. I won't mention specific people..ahem.. However, if someone registers low, zero or negative income, should they all be eligible for assistance? There are many people in this country who have vast wealth, pay no taxes and still reap the benefits of public institutions. No system is perfect but you have to have some kind of method. It's like when I hear people saying seniors need discounts and free transit...the over 65 cohort in this country is the second or third wealthiest. I don't think they all need that help! In Canada, your personal gross income has to exceed $72k before you are not eligible for Old Age Supplement, basically a freebie from the gov't. Think about that.

    Anyway..there are a lot of interests wrangling to make money in Skitown...cheap housing isn't on anyone's list until they can't hire workers..and then foreign workers are suddenly no longer the enemy...
     
  14. mdf

    mdf entering the Big Couloir Skier

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    I have a friend who owns (and lives in) a house in an old, rich Boston suburb. She is trying to push through affordable housing for some obvious and some not-so-obvious reasons. The obvious is that people you would like to have in your town can't afford to live there -- not only teachers, police and fire, retail and restaurant people who work in town, but also the children of families that have lived in town for generations. And like ski towns, it has become difficult to hire for those positions.

    The non-obvious one is traffic. As the inner suburbs became unaffordable, new ones were built on the far fringes of the metro area. And a large number of people who had to move out there have to commute through the older suburbs. Her town has traffic gridlock for multiple hours twice a day. Affordable housing (meaning apartments) that are built in town can be required to make road improvements to go with them. If it is built in the next town (or two) over, not so much.

    They have developers willing to build affordable, and a few pieces of land that could work with zoning changes. The resistance is largely led by small, local builders and real-estate brokers, with some support from the "any change is bad" crowd.

    Her message is that affordable housing is not charity, it is needed to make the current way of life in town sustainable.
    Not that different from a ski town.
     
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  15. scott43

    scott43 Making fresh tracks Skier

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    Transit is the same, right? People don't expect roads to make a profit..but they expect public transit to make a profit..who's driving and who is taking transit?
     
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  16. Sibhusky

    Sibhusky Making fresh tracks Skier

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    Here they have been mandating a certain % of affordable, deed restricted, units for every new plat. The developers mostly seem to have that in the initial design, get started, then try to get out from under it. But a couple new, mostly "affordable" (not for lifties, but for teachers) communities are coming in.

    Affordable rentals are an even bigger problem. Air BnB has resulted in lots of rentable rooms being taken out of circulation from the long term pool into the short term pool. I'm hoping the explosion in hotel rooms results in those long term "room over garage" places drifting back to the long term market.
     
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  17. Bad Bob

    Bad Bob old n' slow Skier

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    Going through Bozeman last month got talking to some young people who were working for Big Sky. The resort rented up rooms in some older motels in town and planted 2 to 4 of them per room creating a dorm effect. Employee housing has been an issue for a very long time at resorts.
     
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  18. pais alto

    pais alto me encanta el país alto Skier

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    Nitpick: ^This isn’t true. There are regulations, covenants, and restrictions galore on developing lands. I hope I don’t have to go into examples.
     
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  19. scott43

    scott43 Making fresh tracks Skier

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    Yes you're right. I was trying poorly to say that is a right people will argue for. The idea that the government is over stepping its authority and I can do what I want on my property. Cities have powers to impose zoning but I suspect there are also appeal mechanisms to modify as well. And of course there's the back room dealing...
     
  20. EBG18T

    EBG18T Getting off the lift Skier

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    I have freinds from school that still commute from Belgrade & 4-Corners to Big Sky. I hated driving down 191, especially is low visibility weather. The lack of reasonably priced housing is a big part of why I left after graduating.
     

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