Residents and elected officials of the famously wealthy mountain town of Aspen don't like the way the city is headed.
"Aspen’s city council this week stopped issuing not just short-term rental permits, but permits for all home construction as the city struggles with a critical lack of affordable housing and the increasing use of homes by vacationers," reports Jason Blevins.
At the moment of the city council's decision, the city was processing 182 new applications for short-term rental licenses, showing the example of broader trend in rural semi-rural vacation destinations around the United States. The rise of so-called "Zoom Towns" is disrupting life in these locations, exacerbating inequality, making it harder for service industry workers to afford homes near their jobs, and raising the topic of gentrification and displacement in corners of the country that previously had been spared one of the more challenging and contentious debates in contemporary planning.
According to the article, Aspen's the short-term rental and construction moratorium taps into a disconnect between the city's previous and current efforts, and the direction of the market in the city.
With a long-term vision for the city laid out in the 2012 Aspen Area Community Plan, the city is also "years into environmental stewardship missions to reduce Aspen’s waste and emissions." Recently, the council has noted that the industry surrounding residential home development 'poses significant obstacles in making progress on many of these important issues,'" writes Blevin, citing the words of Phillip Supino, Aspen’s director of community development at the conclusion of that last sentence. Supino is also cited to say that the moratorium on new construction won't send prices even higher by restricting new supply. Here's how Blevins explains Supino's line of thought:
The supply and demand for Aspen homes have been decoupled from local economics in Aspen for decades. Working residents are not paying $12 million for their homes. The real estate market in Aspen “no longer delivers meaningful housing for local residents” and “the vast majority” of locals and workers in the city live in deed-restricted, subsidized housing, the ordinance says.
A lot more of the political debate and local conditions are explained in the source article at the link below.
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