Letter to the editor: Workforce housing solutions need a countywide approach | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: Workforce housing solutions need a countywide approach

Chris Dorton

Letter writer Melinda Arnott of Frisco made several good points regarding our housing problem. I feel it is important to share what I’ve learned in conversations with the Summit Board of County Commissioners and the Summit Combined Housing Authority.

  • After eliminating steep-slope parcels, wetlands and undevelopable parcels, county government has only 12 parcels that can potentially be developed for workforce housing. Other jurisdictions have other opportunities.
  • The county budget for development of workforce housing is limited.
  • Chokepoints on some proposed housing, such as Lake Hill, have prevented the projects from moving forward.
  • Water and sewer requirements for developments are a consideration. Some jurisdictions are bumping up against limits, such as Dillon’s County Road 51 project. Other jurisdictions may need to share some capacity to make this happen.
  • More rental apartments, such as Huron Landing, need to be constructed. They serve as a stepping stone for families to become permanent residents.
  • Low-hanging fruit exists in the form of adding lock-offs to existing buildings, attic space above commercial properties and modular housing. These solutions would require modification of existing zoning and rules in some cases.
  • Robust incentives are needed to stimulate public-private partnerships to build employee housing in the form of some type of tax credit or housing enterprise fund.

While short-term rentals have exacerbated the problem, they didn’t create it alone. I don’t believe any single entity can build us out of this mess. It’s been smoldering for decades, and COVID-19 lit the fuse.

It will take a combined effort by all local, state and federal government agencies and commercial businesses working together to address it. I urge you to attend local government public meetings, and let your voice be heard.

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