Opinion: Resort Towns Must Take Action to Keep Housing Affordable

The workers that keep many popular tourist destinations running find it more difficult to find affordable housing near their jobs as more remote workers move to scenic resort areas.

2 minute read

February 29, 2024, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Aerial view of Vail, Colorado in winter with multi-story buildings in foregorund and snowy mountains in background.

Vail, Colorado is one of the state's most popular — and now most expensive — resort towns. | Kevin Ruck / Adobe Stock

In an opinion piece in Governing, Rodney M. Milton Jr. argues that resort towns in states like Colorado “need to get serious” about housing affordability for their residents.

Some are being forced to move away from communities they've known all their lives. Others must live far away from their jobs, commuting through snowy mountain roads or catching a ferry home after a long day of work. The effect on the local economies is dire, with businesses unable to hire or retain staff because there's nowhere affordable for employees to live.

In Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the average home price jumped by 71 percent between 2019 and 2022. “In addition, many vacation communities saw a dramatic increase in units being converted to short-term rentals made available on platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo. Airbnb’s listings outside of big cities increased by almost 50 percent between 2019 and 2022.”

Some citied are taking action. “Vail, for example, developed Vail InDEED, an innovative program that protects and preserves existing homes in the community from conversion to vacation homes through the purchasing of a deed restriction that limits occupancy to local residents.” Private employers are also taking initiative by providing modular workforce housing that can be quickly deployed with seasonal cycles. For Milton, “New housing development can be controversial, but the demand is reaching a breaking point and communities need to accommodate a larger population.”

Wednesday, February 28, 2024 in Governing

Large blank mall building with only two cars in large parking lot.

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Street scene in Greenwich Village, New York City with people walking through busy intersection and new WTC tower in background.

Planning for Accessibility: Proximity is More Important than Mobility

Accessibility-based planning minimizes the distance that people must travel to reach desired services and activities. Measured this way, increased density can provide more total benefits than increased speeds.

April 14, 2024 - Todd Litman

Rendering of wildlife crossing over 101 freeway in Los Angeles County.

World's Largest Wildlife Overpass In the Works in Los Angeles County

Caltrans will soon close half of the 101 Freeway in order to continue construction of the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing near Agoura Hills in Los Angeles County.

April 15, 2024 - LAist

Facade of brick multistory apartment buildings in New York City with fire scapes.

New York Passes Housing Package Focused on New Development and Adaptive Reuse

The FY 2025 budget includes a new tax incentive, funding for affordable housing on state land, and support for adaptive reuse and ADUs.

13 minutes ago - Governor Kathy Hochul

"No 710" lawn sign on green lawn.

LA Metro Board Approves New 710 Freeway Plan

The newest plan for the 710 corridor claims it will not displace any residents.

April 22 - Streetsblog LA

Close-up of row of electric cars plugged into chargers at outdoor station.

Austin’s Proposed EV Charging Rules Regulate Station Locations, Size

City planners say the new rules would ensure an efficient distribution of charging infrastructure across the city and prevent an overconcentration in residential areas.

April 22 - Austin Monitor

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.