Stop the affordable-housing madness |

Stop the affordable-housing madness

Dear BOCC,

Thanks for being circumspect in engaging with the Aspen City Council on whether to commit your taxpayers to paying more for as yet-unspecified additional affordable housing. That’s not just fiscal prudence, but the commitments you are being pressed to make would inevitably lead not just to higher local taxes but also more congestion and a diminished quality of life for those who are lucky enough to live here already.  

I say “lucky” because no one has a right to live in Aspen, Pitkin, or any other pretty place. It’s at most a privilege, not an entitlement. Elizabeth Milias can be a bit acerbic, but she’s got one thing right: The demand for affordable housing in this valley is infinite. It will never be sated. That’s just Economics 101. Who would turn down the opportunity to live in a subsidized two-bedroom condo in Aspen where the mortgage payments are less than the rent on a free-market studio apartment in Glenwood? There will never be “enough” affordable housing in this valley.  

From my vantage, the maximum development of “affordable” housing is much more of a threat to this valley than any megamansion, airport improvement, new Entrance to Aspen, or ski-area expansion.

Please read Phil Verleger’s letter to the editor in the July 20 Aspen Daily News if you haven’t already.  I don’t often agree with John Hornblower, who Verleger cites, but in this instance they’ve both got it right. New affordable housing projects should be limited to essential workers.

If the Roaring Fork Valley is going to escape being completely urbanized, at some point the construction of new housing, even the sacred cow of “affordable” housing, must stop. Otherwise, some day, people are going to start moving to Vail for a better quality of life!

Barry Vaughan

El Jebel

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