Lifting deed restrictions would gentrify Aspen |

Lifting deed restrictions would gentrify Aspen

A lot of hot-headed hyperbole flying around town regarding short-term rentals, Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority policy and this crazy fantasy of a jubilee for APCHA’s 3,000 units by converting them into free-market units. Lo Semple’s column was a good example of neutrality — don’t need to ruffle any feathers when you are trying to sell your service to everybody.

These jubilee prognosticators are guessing, more like fantasizing, as to what will happen in the long term and these guesses are laughable. Yeah, sure, give the 1,500 owners the ability to sell their units for high multiples of their current value and some of them will sell and move to Hawaii and free-market real estate prices will temporarily lower some, maybe 10%.

APCHA’s deal is, if you are lucky enough to get it, buy low and sell low. Sounds fair to me. Why should these current owners get a state lottery-size windfall when they signed a contract that states that APCHA decides the price it will be listed at? This is right-wing Libertarian Party dogma (as opposed to left-wing Libertarian Party dogma; there are two sides to every coin). I don’t see any of their renters taking advantage of studio condos at $450,000 instead of their current price of around $500,000. They will move. We will have super-gentrification on steroids.

Consider the long-term consequences to traffic and the help-wanted situation. If you think these are bad now, you will be shocked by how bad they will get when lots of service workers move downvalley or back home. This is happening all over our country. Our economic rules are not providing for regular employees. Billionaires are doing well. Does billionaire Warren Buffett’s secretary still pay more to the IRS than he does? It’s absurd.

Tom Mooney