Mountain Resorts Grow Up......
August 1, 2006
That was a really interesting article (of course, I'm probably the only person on this site that can get thrilled about zoning ordinances and traffic counts, but still...)! We have a Community Affairs Advisor out in Denver who spends a lot of time working with resort communities and affordable housing issues. One of the more interesting things I've seen resort communities develop lately are ownership-restricted covenants. Basically, they are building for-sale units that can only be purchased if the owner works 30 or more hours per week in the area. The homes are targeted so that local teachers, firemen, etc. can still afford to buy a house in the town they live in. I know a friend of my step-mom's who was able to buy a house in Breckenridge because of a policy they had like this.
Sure, that means you don't get the 60% annual inflation in house value, but it still allows you to start building equity, which is a crucial component of middle class assets. I'm really interested in these types of properties- could be an interesting policy item for bigger cities to consider in some moderated form down the road (like DC).
I've seen several of these initiatives advertised in real estate mags in Summit County, CO. There are a few neighborhood developments like this between Dillon and Keystone that were going up in 2000 when the market started to head north.
I own at Snowshoe and although prices have gone ballistic in recent years, I dont think this affects many employees in that market since there is no real 'town' in the immediate area. Once you get a bit off the mountain prices seem to come down to reasonable levels and most employees seem to drive fairly long distances to get to work anyway. When snowstorms hit and the shoe gets a good dumping alot of the facilities either dont open on time or are short staffed (Yoedlers Pub, etc) as employees cant make it in on time or at all even though the road crews are pretty good with the plows. Occasionally the slopes dont even open on time as the lifties cant get on the mountain and when they do they are delayed by digging out the lifts to get them running.