Zimet: The quick fix
There is consensus in Aspen that there is a housing and worker shortage. But, many people are wondering: How are we going to fix that? How much will it cost? Where will new housing be built? How much new infrastructure will be required? What can be done about infinite demand for subsidized housing?
While those are important issues, for me a key question is: How long will it take? I believe it would take many years to build enough new housing to balance our town’s supply-demand equation (especially if demand continues to be subsidized). We can’t quickly build our way out.
The only fast way to increase housing supply and moderate demand is to release the deed restrictions. This is not a perfect solution, but it’s clearly the fastest one — it can be done today.
This solution would ease the worker shortage because it would become cost effective for employers to buy or rent housing for their workers. The cost of housing would become a cost of doing business to be borne by employers (and their customers), not by government. Subsidized housing is a form of corporate welfare.
To my well-intentioned friends who still believe in central planning, I say that we’ve tried it your way. APCHA has been around for about 50 years. We’ve run the deed-restricted housing experiment, and we can’t keep doing the same thing over and over and expect a different result.
How many years will it take to build the Lumberyard? Too many. Speed matters because our community is out of time. We have to do something different that will make a difference right now. We don’t have years to wait. So, we have to release the deed restrictions. APCHA delenda est.