Summit Daily letters: The Keystone bunkbed debate rekindled as Vail Resorts seeks county OK
September 10, 2018
County should approve Keystone's request for bunk bed extension
As we begin the activity and excitement of another school year, I urge all of us to pause and recommit to the most pressing issue facing our community: affordable housing. One of my sons is entering his senior year of high school, and as we plan for his future I can't help but wonder: How on Earth will he be able to come back to his hometown and make a life for himself in the future, if he wishes to? As a Frisco Elementary graduate, myself, as well as someone who found my way back after college and early career, I feel fortunate for the opportunities to live, work and play in this great community. But for our children's generation of working-class adults, the prospect of setting roots in this community are bleak.
The crisis in housing looms at every level: single-family houses, condominiums, townhomes, and apartments; for sale or for rent; for the year-round and for seasonal workers. Further, this crisis perpetuates the adverse chain of cause and effect — driving prices out of reach for workers, limiting the available pool of workers, hamstringing the ability of our restaurants and businesses to find staff — in some cases, causing them to close or limit goods and services, and adversely affecting the very fabric and character of our community, as our friends and neighbors flee to more affordable locales. The classic story of the ski bum out of college who wants to bump chairlifts for a season, live in employee housing and then transition into a year-round lifestyle is harder to achieve than ever before.
Our local governments and major employers have been adding housing inventory in communities like Breckenridge, Silverthorne and Keystone. Solutions continue to be proposed, including vitally needed fixes such as Vail Resorts' request to the county for an extension on 100+ workforce beds in Keystone. This question will come before the Board of County Commissioners as Sept. 11. Each of our community leaders must embrace every opportunity to grow workforce housing in our communities. The work done to date has been impressive. Still, I fear that as new issues fight for our attention we'll lose sight of the unrelenting need to push forward to address the housing issues. I want my kids to be able to have the option to find their futures living here in Summit County too.
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I'm writing today to express my support for Vail Resorts' proposed extension to the county for 102 extra workforce beds in their Keystone employee housing. As a small business operator in the Keystone and Silverthorne areas, one who benefits from subsidized housing, I know how critical stable housing is in Summit County.
While I'm enjoying stable and secure housing now, it was a struggle for many years to find a housing opportunity that worked for me up here in Summit. Given how difficult finding housing is, I encourage the Board of County Commissioners to support every possible opportunity to provide workforce housing they can, including allowing bunking at Keystone's Tenderfoot employee housing for another year.
The housing crisis is too severe, the need is too great, for our local government to turn away any housing relief they have the opportunity to support.