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Opportunities for affordable housing

Dear Editor:

Here’s a new idea.

It might interest some residents of Cemetery Lane or the West End to be paid perhaps $200,000 per bedroom, in exchange for placing a permanent Resident Only restriction on the house. An RO deed restriction would prevent speculation, and ensure that these homes would remain in locals’ hands. Meanwhile, the current owner would receive a lump sum of cash to compensate her for volunteering to deed restrict the house. The system could function like a reverse mortgage, or provide an extra infusion of cash for something like college tuition.



People can’t sell their houses right now. Many need cash immediately. Compensating current owners for voluntarily placing an RO deed restriction on their home, but not requiring them to move, provides many benefits. Newly deed-restricted West End houses likely isn’t for young locals or seasonal workers, but rather for sorts of families who live now in the North 40 ” established locals. This system is easier, cheaper, and less risky for the city than building remote housing and will bring liveliness back to the downtown core!

Such a campaign gets the city out of the development business and into the community business, where it belongs.




The Sopris Foundation, which I direct, has long championed measures to improve opportunities for locals to remain in Aspen. We produced the film “Nobody’s Home,” created a tool-box of policy solutions, took an inventory of the current demographic breakdown of locals, affordable housing and second home owners. John McBride, our founder, developed one of the most successful locals housing regions in the valley at the North 40.

In 2007, the Sopris Foundation, with Climate Mitigation Services, released a study about the demographic mix within Aspen. We learned that part-time residents own 60 percent of homes in town. The remaining 40 percent is divided at 20 percent in the affordable housing pool, and 20 percent in free market locally owned.

This last 20 percent is the endangered species the city must act to save, or else town will be 80 percent second homes with locals in distributed density at the outskirts.

Piper Foster

The Sopris Foundation

Aspen


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