Letter to the editor: Breck mayor, city council need to rethink housing strategy

Gary Robbins and Kaaren Mirk

Breckenridge needs more affordable housing. Maintaining the character of our town is also important. However the mayor and city council are heading in a direction that is unlikely to achieve either.

Governments are allowed to take private property, including non-real property, for valid public purposes but with compensation. Has the city considered that the loss of value from a noncompensated, forced reduction in short-term licenses might be challenged in court, resulting in unanticipated legal expenses to the city?

The city should consider expanding its current program that gives it the right to purchase properties at market value, add a deed restriction and convert to a long-term rental. The seller obtains a market-based price, and the eventual buyer obtains more reasonably priced housing.

Many residents will agree that Breck’s character has changed because of the increase in big-box hotels where guests can eat, sleep and play without going downtown. Short-term rental guests spend their money at locally owned businesses that reinvest this income in the community. Big-box hotel profits benefit owners who might not live in Breckenridge, Summit County or even Colorado.

Why are the big-box hotels and timeshares exempt from assisting in increasing the availability of affordable housing? Why doesn’t the city enact an affordable housing tax on these corporations that could be used to purchase and convert short-term rentals to long-term rentals?

Finally, there are some HOAs, such as ours, that have set aside one unit for a resident manager, already providing employment and affordable housing to one member of our community.

The mayor and city council need to rethink how they want to go about increasing the availability of affordable housing that is equitable to all.

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