Need to be creative and quick
by Mark Reaman
The Crested Butte Town Council is gearing up to discuss the local housing crunch in depth.
A public meeting will be held on Thursday, May 28 at the Crested Butte Center for the Arts to discuss the issue and try to set a path forward to address the problem.
A Colorado Association of Ski Towns (CAST) study on the impacts of short-term vacation rentals in resort communities is in draft form and should be ready to be discussed within a few weeks.
In the public comment section of the May 18 council meeting, local resident Holly Harmon said she would be homeless in the community by the end of the month and she wanted more information on what the town was doing about the situation and what would be discussed at the May 28 meeting. Meeting organizer and town manager Todd Crossett outlined the agenda for her and agreed to meet with her this week.
At the end of the council meeting, councilman Chris Ladoulis reminded the council that when the town gets busy, everyone would be affected by the housing shortage. “If businesses don’t have employees because there is no place to live, the town will be stressed and leave a poor impression with summer guests,” he said.
“We need to be ahead of this ball,” Ladoulis insisted. “We need to have this on every agenda for the next ten weeks if need be. There are a lot of things to kick around. And it’s not just affordable housing. It’s all housing. I’ve talked to people who said they would be willing to pay $2,000 a month or more to stay in town but they can’t find any place. We need to be thinking about this creatively and quickly. We can’t talk about it for five years.”
“I don’t disagree, but we are a ten-square-block town,” said councilman Skip Berkshire. “We can’t solve all the problems. We can’t solve Mt. Crested Butte’s or Gunnison’s problems. We are doing some good things and we have to be realistic.”
“We need a sense of urgency,” responded Ladoulis.
The council noted that at the May 28 public meeting, financing and qualifications for those who want affordable housing should be considered. Councilman Jim Schmidt said the town of Jackson Hole was considering allowing camping in town as an alternative for employee housing.
Crossett said the town hall–type meeting on May 28 would be a good way to move the conversation forward. The council will talk about the issue at the June 1 council meeting.