'Affordable' Housing Is The Disease, Not The Cure

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As a portion of the Town of Payson wrestles with the problem of "affordable" housing, it occurs to me that perhaps we are again concentrating on the disease, rather than the cure.

The reason most often given as to why we need "affordable housing" is that workers can't afford housing here on the wages they receive.

Thus one way to relieve this situation would be for the employers to pay more, but there are probably more unintended than intended consequences to such action. So I understand the reluctance of going this route.

However, I recently visited Aspen, Colo. where they have the Payson problem in mega-doses. Houses there sell for five times what they would here; land is even more expensive. Being a tourist-service town with a high percentage of visitors three-quarters of the year, Aspen needs lots of help, both permanent and transient. Perhaps because the need is so great the business community has opted to solve a good share of its own problem rather than waiting for the public sector to do it.

The Aspen Ski Corporation, which now owns all four ski areas, has built dormitories at each area. When these aren't occupied by employees, they are rented to students at the music school, drama school, dance school or whatever.

Home builders are encouraged (rather than discouraged) in building extra living quarters onto their own homes.

Finally, a group of 10 businesses purchased one of the older ski lodges in town. It was going to be renovated anyhow in order to be competitive in today's market. Instead, the business will convert it into 10 condominiums, each business receiving a condominium. That business will then determine who occupies that condominium, and what the rental terms are.

I would suggest that if we really have a serious housing problem for employed people in Payson, that perhaps it is up to the employers to solve the problem.

Dan Adams, Payson

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