Basalt candidates Q&A: affordable housing | AspenTimes.com
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Basalt candidates Q&A: affordable housing

Aspen, CO Colorado

What role, if any, should the Basalt town government play in providing affordable housing? Garret BrandtBasalts role in providing affordable housing should be twofold: By encouraging the building of additional affordable housing inventory through free-market incentives, and by partnering with local quasi-governmental entities, such as the school district, to provide a streamlined process that encourages development to meet their housing needs. It is not the towns business to be in the housing construction industry. Government rarely does anything as efficiently as the private sector, requiring additional tax dollars to accomplish the same (or less) than can be garnered from the development industry though a collaborative approach. Finally, Basalt should take the lead in seeking intergovernmental agreements, even to the point of lobbying changes to the state laws, allowing the pooling of resources from valley area governments to provide housing in places where it can be most efficiently built. Brian DillardAbsolutely no subsidy. We have the power of variances as needed to accomplish our towns needs. We need to make a stand that all new development pays its own way. If you bring jobs to town, you also need to bring solutions to the table in order to house those people. I firmly believe we need to find a way to bring long-term rental solutions like an apartment complex to Basalt; not everything needs to be a stand-alone, for-sale home. The question is what are Basalts plans with land the town owns? How can this be used for our benefit? Why are we not having conversation on developing that land (all in the current boundary). Also why are we not offering tax incentives to people in the Hillside District who have accessory dwelling units? We need to keep all doors open for our working residents and families. Did you know that of 34 town employees only three live in town? How do we change that?Pete McBrideBasalt should be very active on this front. This issue, of course, is one of the biggest challenges faced by Basalt and this valley. I do think there is untapped potential to partner with the private and nonprofit sector that could help alleviate some of the need. Historically, the town has been light on this issue, asking for only 20 percent affordable housing mitigation within the growth boundary. That percentage should and needs to come up. Katie SchwoererOne of the goals of the citizen-created master plan is to promote diverse and affordable housing opportunities in Basalt. Although the creation of affordable housing is an obvious need, the current Basalt code requires only a 20 percent mitigation threshold for new residential development within the town boundary. This is too low, and we need to do better. Fortunately, studies that support a more realistic and responsive figure have already been undertaken by other communities in the area, so updating this figure should just require political will. This will be a high priority for me if elected. I will also work to ensure that the town obtains the most affordable housing possible from the annexation process. I believe that my background in finance will be an asset to the town in determining how best to approach these annexation negotiations with the development community. Rick StevensThe town has given enough time and effort to the critical need for affordable housing. Countless government-sponsored seminars and workshops have produced nothing. We always arrive at the same conclusion: Everyone gets all excited that something is going to happen then it fizzles. We do not have the resources of Aspen, Pitkin or Snowmass and may never have. Our efforts need to be directed at the private sector in the name of partnership and cooperation. Or not do we really, as a community, want an affordable housing project inside our urban growth boundary or is it a precious enclave ultimately reserved for the few who can afford it? I leave it up to the community. I have here my home in which I hope to stay and have just about given up on the idea of seeing my grandchildren living in this community. I will, however, never stop trying to make that happen.Jacque WhitsittBasalts elected officials must take the lead to ensure that adequate affordable housing and deed-restricted commercial space be made available. We need to require a much greater percentage of deed-restricted housing from large developers and we need to help nonprofits (the Catholic Archdiocese has tried for years to find a place for rental units in our community) and other partners identify a location within our urban growth boundary for rental units to accommodate those who are unable to purchase housing. Our lack of housing is impacting teacher retention and failing to give a way to remain in our community.

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