Ireland disputes Semrau’s numbers
ASPEN Mayoral candidate Mick Ireland disagrees with claims by candidate Tim Semrau that Aspen’s goal of housing 60 percent of the work force upvalley could be completed in five years. “Anyone just looking around knows that things are actually worse, not better.” Ireland said Sunday. “[Housing] lottery odds are 60-to-1 or 70-to-1.”While Semrau’s numbers showed the work force has stayed the same over the last few years, Ireland said the state demographer estimated 3.2 percent growth in the work force per year. Thus, the span of 2002 to 2006 saw the creation of 1,600 new jobs. Semrau could not be reached for comment on this subject. “We’ve seen huge job growth and we’re not housing them,” Ireland said. “You’re losing housing stock faster than you’re building it.”Ireland said Semrau’s plan did not take into account a few major things that accounted for different calculations between the two. Semrau did not look at homes owned by locals being flipped to second homes, reducing the inventory for local employees. Ireland noted that the assessor’s office said 633 properties have changed from local ownership to out-of-county or out-of-state ownership since 2003 and that 2,404 properties have changed from individual to corporate ownership in that time period. In general, corporate ownership is more typical for investment properties than worker residences, Ireland said. Another Semrau assumption that Ireland disputed were the actual numbers of available units. Properties that were formerly rented to employees were sold to the employees, such as those at the Lazy Glen mobile home park a move that didn’t reduce the housing shortfall. While Semrau sees the community goal of housing 60 percent of the work force upvalley, Ireland said the community is not keeping up with demand. He pointed out that commercial developments will only meet the 60 percent goal of affordable housing at best. “It’s not going to be attainable as long as we continue to allow rapid expansion of the commercial sector that generates 500 to 600 jobs a year,” Ireland said. “It’s never going to be attained if you put housing on the same footing as commercial.”Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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Aspen in winter storm warning through Monday with a foot or more of snow forecast for higher elevations
The first major snowstorm of the season is expected to roll into Colorado on Sunday with the mountains around Aspen seeing up to two feet of snow by Monday evening, according to the National Weather Service.