Channing Reynolds: Assurances needed
March 14, 2010
Steamboat appears to have lost its appetite for affordable housing initiatives. A part of the "Let's Vote" campaign centered on the lack of housing in the proposed Steamboat 700 development that would be attainable to the average working-class local. Ironically, the wide margin in the defeat of the Steamboat 700 annexation seems to indicate just the opposite — too many opportunities.
There were some valid reasons to ratify the City Council's original decision concerning Steamboat 700, but by the unanimous precinct opposition to the annexation agreement, it seems the voter fallout really came from people who already own property in our city.
I have had a certain conversation hundreds of times with folks over the past two decades. It typically goes something like: "You're so lucky to live here." My response is always a bit situation-dependent, but usually follows a framework of: "You have no idea what kind of sacrifice it takes to (move to/live/maintain) in a resort community."
We've all heard the phrase "livin' the dream," but unfortunately many residents are now facing the reality of the sister slogan "financing a nightmare."
With the current economy removing significant equity from local real estate, the last thing our voters wanted to hear about was thousands of new three-bedroom, three-bath, two-car garage, fenced-yard homes for less than the price of a 35-year-old condo. In order for the next round of managed growth opportunities to gain broad public support, it will have to contain assurances that property values won't melt away faster than the spring snowpack.