Let’s keep affordable housing arguments relevant | SummitDaily.com

Let’s keep affordable housing arguments relevant

Summit Daily Editorial Board
Summit County, CO Colorado

It’s an ongoing argument in resort communities that appears to have no clear answer: Should we or shouldn’t we provide subsidized housing for local workers?

The arguments can be purely philosophical. While one camp might argue that, without subsidies we can never have a level playing field and affordable homes for workers, others who managed to buy their Summit County home sans subsidy claim help isn’t needed. Even if that argument doesn’t hold water when you look at the cost of housing locally versus the average wage and how disparate those figures have become over the last decade, at least it’s got some basis in fact.

One argument that really doesn’t hold up under scrutiny is that “affordable housing” projects decrease the value of surrounding properties. We frequently hear these arguments, often accompanied by references to “known studies” proving them to be true. In our story on this subject in Monday’s paper, reporter Bob Berwyn found some good, strong evidence that this is simply not the case, and that the kind of worker housing being done in the high country is not undermining property values.

Simply put, a well-designed neighborhood for local workers is not the same as some soon-to-be-blighted urban tenement project.

In Frisco, some opponents of a proposed affordable neighborhood on the Peak One parcel have clouded the issue by wrapping it in an open space argument apparently heading for an April ballot. In fact, we know of several people who signed the petition to get a town vote on the matter because they thought it was about protecting open space ” not, as is the real case, trying to undermine worker housing that Frisco needs so badly.

Whether one agrees on the tools to create worker housing, there appears to be little doubt that the need exists. In the interest of tackling a community-wide problem, it would benefit us all by focusing on real facts and legitimate arguments ” not myths and smokescreens that confuse the issue further.

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