PI Editorial: Housing conversion policy brings a lot of potential to Glenwood Springs | PostIndependent.com

PI Editorial: Housing conversion policy brings a lot of potential to Glenwood Springs

Post Independent Editorial Board

Color us cautiously optimistic: The work recently done to make it easier to convert former hotels and motels into longer-term housing for our residents has the potential to greatly benefit Glenwood Springs.

What’s most notable to us is just how many organizations and businesses are involved. RFTA is looking to a hotel purchase later this year for its workers; that experience could help provide crucial insight into businesses and other community organizations on how to do the same for their workers.

The Glenwood Springs City Council is taking input from staff and the community on how the city can streamline the regulatory process to make it easier for hotels and motels to be converted to longer-term housing.

The nonprofit Community Builders is also providing valuable research and data from its community outreach on what the city could do to possibly fund affordable housing developments that could include a new lodging tax.

There are probably many more individuals and organizations that could also be mentioned, and that’s part of what makes this moment in housing policy so remarkable. It’s not being driven by any one person, governing body or business. Instead, it’s the policy equivalent of a team lift, and it makes us proud to see so many come together within our community to help provide solutions to the most pressing issue facing Glenwood Springs.

There are still details to be worked out, and it’s possible that unexpected consequences will bring the need for further tweaks.

One question we have in particular on the exclusionary housing category (housing for workers making 80-100% of AMI) that become employer-owned is the potential for wages to be kept lower so employees are eligible for a housing unit. A better way to approach it might be to cap rent at no more than a third of an employee’s income, which we think is still within the affordability benchmark.

But that concern doesn’t shake our confidence that Glenwood Springs has a real opportunity to create additional and affordable housing for our residents. It might require a tweak or two in the future, but we think the policy has real potential to do good within our community. And we’re happy to see so many different people and organizations working toward that goal.

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

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