Letter: Put employee housing on federal land

Why should taxpayers pay for expensive land for affordable housing when we own the forest?

As a candidate for state representative from Colorado House District 26, which consists of Eagle and Routt counties, I have a partial solution to help provide affordable housing for hundreds and hundreds of ski-area employees. Let’s put pressure on our federal officials to designate free forest land on Vail, Beaver Creek, Steamboat and all Aspen ski mountains for ski-area employee dormitory housing. Remember, the Forest Service works for us. And we granted the ski-area operators a virtual 50-year monopoly to manage our land for our recreation purposes!

Vail Councilman Greg Moffet, a moderate Republican, called the idea “genius.”

Vail resident Stephan Connolly, who is registered unaffiliated, said the idea was “the most novel idea presented” at a recent Vail housing meeting.

Avon Mayor Pro Tem Jake Wolf, a Democrat, said there are more than four win-wins available.

Clearly, this is a nonpartisan issue and emblematic of my campaign to be your state representative to try to help fix problems.

The following are the four win-wins available:

1) Young, 21-year-old winter workers would not need to bring their cars to our counties, thereby helping to alleviate a parking problem, because they can walk or ski to work.

2) Young workers tend to enjoy happy hour after work. Remember when you were 21? Happy hour sometimes doesn’t end until 10 p.m. or midnight. Heavily imbibed young people wouldn’t have to take the county bus home and can’t be drunk and disorderly if they don’t need to ride it! Also, taxpayers may not be paying the subsidized approximate $6 per bus ride, and there would be less wear and tear on our buses.

3) Young workers who have cars couldn’t drive home drunk, and our roads would be safer — therefore fewer DUIs. The courts wouldn’t be as clogged, meaning less work for judges’ case loads.

4) Hundreds and hundreds of employees who could live the dream of skiing to work wouldn’t be needing the already existing housing throughout the rest of our counties and wouldn’t need to lie to landlords by signing a year lease when they knew they would only be there for ski season. Less hassle for landlords — more units available for year-round employees!

In my own survey, 95 of 100 people asked about this proposal support this effort. They come from all political persuasions. Let’s return the Colorado House back to common-sense decision-making that doesn’t raise our cost of living.

Michael Cacioppo