Letter: Just subsidize housing
Mr. Anderson makes some very valid points in his thoughtful objections to issuing large-scale variances and impact-fee reductions to the proposed Oasis Creek housing development (GSPI, April 20). Citizens have spoken time and time again about their goal to preserve our small-town character: high-rise housing and parking overflows are not compatible with this vision.
We must face the fact that this area is just not conducive to the production of low-cost housing which, by nature, must be high density and high rise. Further, distorting our normal fee structures and building requirements to facilitate low-cost housing merely hides costs from the public and inflates costs for normal free-market housing.
If we truly want, or need, to subsidize housing let’s be honest and transparent about it and have a line item in city and county budgets titled “housing subsidies.” From this pool of money would be issued monthly checks to those whom we felt qualify for assistance. In this manner we can preserve not only our desired community character but also transparently achieve our desired level of housing subsidy. A corollary benefit of such a program is that it allows the subsidy recipient to live in the home of their choice and not be constrained to live in a government-designated location.
We do not need a grand public/private coalition of housing-related entities to fix the “housing crisis,” as suggested by the Post. All we need is the political will to define then enact a program that meets the community’s needs. We just voted money to subsidize teacher housing, so it seems the will is there.
Finally, let’s recall that the citizens of Aspen ultimately became so exasperated with their city issuing character- and neighborhood-destroying variances that they voted to severely restrict the city’s ability to do so. I hope it doesn’t have to come to that in Glenwood.