Bob Norton: Breckenridge’s un-affordable fiasco
Breckenridge, CO Colorado
From SDN’s recent reporting, I was disappointed to learn that the Breckenridge Town Council and Mayor John Warner continue to push more environmental destruction with plans for multiple new housing subdivisions across Breckenridge. Their plans apparently include 900 new homes to wipe out open space, spawn traffic congestion and mar our county’s landscape ” all wrapped in a sugar-coated “affordable housing” wrapper. With county property values falling, unemployment rising and financial markets reeling, I can’t think of a worse time to build more unwanted homes at the expense of our environment. Consider the following:
– Existing county programs to build so called “affordable” taxpayer-subsidized houses have already failed. “Affordable” homes have sat vacant on Tiger Road for more than a year. No buyers in sight. Their only legacy being some ugly structures on a flat piece of land that used to have a good-looking stand of trees on it.
– The underlying “studies” by high-priced taxpayer-funded consultants that produced projections on how many acres of open space should be carved up to support discount homes for low achievers are both outdated and flawed. The studies were completed back when there were actually jobs in Breckenridge. That’s not the case anymore.
– Our Breckenridge Central Planners often note their interest in pursuing policies that serve our local community; citing past votes to raise taxes for freebie social programs together with their back-room efforts to skirt voters and raise taxes anyway. Let’s look at the math for general elections: 70 percent of the tax base can’t vote as they are not full-time residents; of the remaining 30 percent, less than 50 percent actually turn up to vote. So that means that less than 15 percent of the total tax base is represented in a given election; with only 7.5 percent needed for a measure to win. Hence our local elections are nothing more than a resort-town script on how to spend someone else’s money.
– Incredibly, according to SDN reports, it remains to be determined how much the town will pay to cover the taxpayer-subsidized portion of each home constructed. Now that’s great planning. Blow some money, shred the environment and let the taxpayers pick up the pieces. This cozy relationship between the Town of Breckenridge and real estate developers is troubling.
I am sorry to report that the chances of fixing this fiasco are small. Our environment is already in the gun sights of local government, and the back-room deals with developers are well advanced. However, after the environmental damage is done, and the additional unneeded homes sit unsold and empty, let’s hold Breckenridge town government accountable.
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