Letter: Inefficient housing management
A resident of Burlingame complained to the City Council this week about noise from her neighbor (“Burlingame family pleads for city’s aid over racket,” The Aspen Times, Aug. 10). (I’m assuming she rents; if she’s an owner, she should be complaining to her homeowners association.) I wrote an online comment that the city shouldn’t be in the business of designing, building, inspecting (its own projects) and operating housing. This just puts the City Council in the position of having to deal with disgruntled occupants one by one, an amazingly inefficient way to run a railroad. The city should limit itself to financing the projects of private developers and property managers, inspecting them for code compliance and ensuring compliance with employee-housing occupancy rules.
One commenter suggested I had overreacted, that the noise problem is limited to one complainant. I replied: “Where there is one with the guts to speak up there are many others who are too cowed by the fear of city retaliation.” Sure enough, an email came into the City Council from another Burlingame resident saying the noise problems there are widespread. Then another online commenter posted, “There is a similar problem at Castle Ridge Employee Housing. If you complain they just don’t renew your lease. This happened to a friend who lived there.”
So I’d go further than just future projects. Sell the existing projects to private operators subject to employee-housing rules about occupancy. The city would raise a lot of money and be able to reduce head count. Then it could lower the sales tax and parking rates. And even reduce the real estate transfer tax.
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