Boom breeds housing crunch
Dear Editor:On Dec. 13 the [Aspen] Daily News reported Skico’s Jim Lang’s statement: “Our work force hasn’t changed significantly in 10 years.” If the largest local employer in the tourism industry is not hiring a greater number of employees, then what industry is responsible for our local housing woes? One need look no further than the Nov. 28 statement by The Aspen Times for the answer: “Construction workers, brought by the ongoing building boom, are apparently contributing to the housing woes for late arrivals. Plenty of rentals were already taken when the ski-season workers arrived.”Why don’t we hold the construction companies working on projects in town to the same standard of providing local housing for their employees that we require other Aspen lodging, retail and restaurant businesses to?Our building boom is a direct result of our government providing too much encouragement to “revitalize.” There is so much already in the pipeline that it is time to stop being so accommodating to development. Consider the advice in Su Lum’s Nov. 9 column: “I think we could start by requiring all developers to house 100 percent of the employees generated by their projects – not 60 percent. And to replace 100 percent of the employee units destroyed by their projects, not 50 percent. And to allow no exemptions to our building codes. If the code says 40 feet high is the limit, that doesn’t mean 40 feet plus 6 inches, or 50 feet.”Without a change in direction, it seems the future will be even worse. Compare and contrast Mayor Klanderud’s plan to add seven new employees in 2006 to the Community Development Empire to help speed approvals for contractors versus her Dec. 13 quote in the Times regarding housing woes: “I’m not sure this is entirely the city’s responsibility.”Actions speak louder than words.Bert MyrinAspen
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