PI Editorial: Hoping for further collaboration in Garfield County’s housing crisis | PostIndependent.com

PI Editorial: Hoping for further collaboration in Garfield County’s housing crisis

Nearly every community in Garfield County is seeing attempts at making a dent in the rising cost of housing. Solutions from both the free market and nonprofit sectors are at various stages in Parachute, Rifle, Glenwood Springs, New Castle and Carbondale — but that doesn’t mean our housing crisis is nearing an end.

In some ways, it feels like things could more easily go awry now as various elected boards face questions, concerns and opportunities on a variety of proposed developments. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, piecemeal decision making could end up exacerbating the housing crisis countywide.

Collaboration is ideal but at the bare minimum we feel communication between our various towns, cities and counties is key to preventing such outcomes. The good news is that there already is an organization in place to help facilitate that: the West Mountain Regional Housing Coalition, which aims to “increase the availability and accessibility of affordable community housing within Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties …”

The less good news is that we hoped to see Garfield County and some of our Colorado River Valley communities join onto the coalition by now. It is still possible for more communities to come together on this effort — the regional housing summit organized by Habitat for Humanity of the Roaring Fork Valley is a great example of this. More than a dozen organizations participated and joined the conversation (you can watch a recording here). But we worry that dallying on a collaborative approach through the coalition could result in a hodgepodge of housing victories and defeats throughout Garfield County, as well as Pitkin and Eagle counties.

And given the scale of the housing crisis — which could quickly turn into an employment and economic crisis if businesses can’t find workers — a hodgepodge approach is unlikely to result in significant success. 

The Post Independent editorial board members are Editor Peter Baumann, Managing Editor/Senior Reporter John Stroud, and community representatives Mark Fishbein and Amy Connerton.

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