Hauenstein: Help retain our character | AspenTimes.com

Hauenstein: Help retain our character

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

Vacation destinations around the world are under the same market pressures of rentals of homes on short terms (STR). The reality is that more money can be made renting a home to visitors multiple times in a short duration than long term to working residents.

The impacts are the same globally. Local workers have been displaced because homes are now being operated as commercial entities. Towns in Colorado — and, indeed, globally — are attempting to retain their fabric and identities by funding to mitigate for changing uses of homes to vacation rentals.

At least 14 Colorado municipalities are asking voters to approve tax measures to mitigate the loss of employee housing. Multiple approaches are being attempted. Nobody has the perfect solution. Some towns flat out ban STRs in zones. Some severely limit the number of STRs allowed. Most are asking for increased taxes to be charged to visitors to mitigate the impacts of STRs.

Ballot issue 2A asks the residents of Aspen to approve an excise tax on STRs to fund workforce housing at 70% and municipal infrastructure for the remainder. These funds will directly mitigate the impacts of changing home usage.

We welcome and value our visitors. Changing trends in visitation are changing the makeup of communities. I ask only that our tourists contribute to maintaining the fabric of Aspen by funding the impacts of their visits.

Please support our community by voting yes on 2A. Allow our visitors to help retain our character by mitigating their impacts.

Ward Hauenstein