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Staying Afloat in a Ski Town

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
post #2 of 20
If you buy, prices aren't that bad here in Whitefish. But there's no stock available if you rent, because it's all vacation rentals.
post #3 of 20

Nothing new here.  Been that way since I spent 80/81 in JH, and it's the same today.

post #4 of 20

So glad New Mexico isn't like this yet.  Not everywhere is paradise lost.

post #5 of 20
Bend is going going gone....
post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by core2 View Post
 

So glad New Mexico isn't like this yet.  Not everywhere is paradise lost.


Knock on wood.

post #7 of 20

Devils advocate.....What exactly do you think a town, let's say like Telluride, looks like with real estate at 25% of current value? Place would turn into a mountain suburbia. 

post #8 of 20

Many of the places that traditionally rented to low wage workers now are rented to tourists for shorter periods for more money through sites like VRBO. 

post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by COBillsFan View Post
 

Devils advocate.....What exactly do you think a town, let's say like Telluride, looks like with real estate at 25% of current value? Place would turn into a mountain suburbia. 


You mean, if there were affordable housing for people who work at the resort?

 

Ok, esthetics are an issue. Are they more important than adequate housing? 

 

Adequate housing can look good, if it's designed adequately.

post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by HRPufnStf View Post
 

Nothing new here.  Been that way since I spent 80/81 in JH, and it's the same today.

It has become much, much worse though. 

post #11 of 20

Interesting article, though a bit melodramatic. 

 

I like the idea of tiny house communities - cheap, simple and can be temporary or permanent. I would think they'd appeal to folks flocking to the mountains in a way that trailers and room rentals don't and could be done as rentals, sales or rent to buy. 

post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by lakespapa View Post
 


You mean, if there were affordable housing for people who work at the resort?

 

Ok, esthetics are an issue. Are they more important than adequate housing? 

 

Adequate housing can look good, if it's designed adequately.

Affordable for anyone who builds a career in the area. Teachers, highway workers, nurses, etc. etc. 

If the vast majority could easily make it in a place like Telluride or Jackson, well, everyone would be there, and it wouldn't be the same. :dunno 

post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by COBillsFan View Post
 

Affordable for anyone who builds a career in the area. Teachers, highway workers, nurses, etc. etc. 

If the vast majority could easily make it in a place like Telluride or Jackson, well, everyone would be there, and it wouldn't be the same. :dunno 


I don't think so. Maybe those places would be more popular, but they wouldn't all get overrun.

 

Places like Jackson and Telluride are attractive but one dimensional. Beyond outdoor scenery and rec, you're in the middle of nowhere and have a more difficult everyday life with less amenities than you'd get in a city or suburb. It's just not for everyone - or most people. 

post #14 of 20

Big part of the problem is local land use and zoning policies, which mandate huge lots and very low density--which is aesthetic (for some) but forces a developer to build big expensive McMansions. Until people realize that high density high rise development is far more environmentally friendly as well as more affordable lack of affordable housing will keep getting worse. Where's the most environmentally friendly place in America? Manhattan. Apartments are efficient to heat and cool because most have one outside wall and no outside roof or floor. High density makes high efficiency public transportation possible--a lot of New Yorkers don't even own cars. Friend of mine is an architect in Sacramento who specializes in small, dense development. He gave a talk in Nevada Cityto the old hippies who all want to live scattered around the county growing weed and raising lllamas and they about ran him out of town. A lot of otherwise environmentally oriented folks somehow think that low density housing is good for the environment when the opposite is true. It is certainly true around here where the "environmentalists" fight every development and usually wind up getting the density and the number of units reduced--see Sierra Watch, Mountain Area Preservation Foundation, and a whole host of others. These folks think they're environmentalists when all they really are is nimbys. The joke will be on them when they have to bump their own chairs and fix they're own frozen pipes because no one who can do either can afford to live here.

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post
 


I don't think so. Maybe those places would be more popular, but they wouldn't all get overrun.

 

Places like Jackson and Telluride are attractive but one dimensional. Beyond outdoor scenery and rec, you're in the middle of nowhere and have a more difficult everyday life with less amenities than you'd get in a city or suburb. It's just not for everyone - or most people. 

Telluride and Jackson are both bound by federal land and geography, likely not the best example.

I have no dog in the fight. I can see both sides of the argument, but wonder how places would change, for better and worse, with artificially affordable housing. 

post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

Big part of the problem is local land use and zoning policies, which mandate huge lots and very low density--which is aesthetic (for some) but forces a developer to build big expensive McMansions. Until people realize that high density high rise development is far more environmentally friendly as well as more affordable lack of affordable housing will keep getting worse. Where's the most environmentally friendly place in America? Manhattan. Apartments are efficient to heat and cool because most have one outside wall and no outside roof or floor. High density makes high efficiency public transportation possible--a lot of New Yorkers don't even own cars. Friend of mine is an architect in Sacramento who specializes in small, dense development. He gave a talk in Nevada Cityto the old hippies who all want to live scattered around the county growing weed and raising lllamas and they about ran him out of town. A lot of otherwise environmentally oriented folks somehow think that low density housing is good for the environment when the opposite is true. It is certainly true around here where the "environmentalists" fight every development and usually wind up getting the density and the number of units reduced--see Sierra Watch, Mountain Area Preservation Foundation, and a whole host of others. These folks think they're environmentalists when all they really are is nimbys. The joke will be on them when they have to bump their own chairs and fix they're own frozen pipes because no one who can do either can afford to live here.

 

I don't think anyone here is arguing that low density is an environmental good. This is about housing costs. And high density does not equal lower housing costs--if it did, Manhattan, Vancouver BC and San Francisco would be the most affordable places in North America, not the most expensive. (This is a huge issue in cities feeling the housing squeeze right now, like Seattle and SF--there is plenty of evidence to show that density based on new development just drives up housing costs, as it usually replaces older, affordable housing, and the new units almost always cater to higher income buyers). 

 

Also, what ski towns are "mandating huge lots"? Do you have examples? I suppose that might happen, but when I think of the towns with the highest housing costs--Telluride or Ketchum, for example--homes are not generally on large lots, and these are compact towns. Think of how compact and relatively dense (for ski towns) Vail and Whistler are, and think of how expensive these places are. Are you thinking of developments outside of towns, where developers are carving up former ranches and building McMansions on huge lots? I agree that kind of sprawl is gross, but that's not happening because adjacent cities are telling those developers the minimum house size is an acre and they have to build 10K sf houses. The developer is doing that because that's where the money is. 

 

Quote:
 It is certainly true around here where the "environmentalists" fight every development and usually wind up getting the density and the number of units reduced--see Sierra Watch, Mountain Area Preservation Foundation, and a whole host of others. These folks think they're environmentalists when all they really are is nimbys. The joke will be on them when they have to bump their own chairs and fix they're own frozen pipes because no one who can do either can afford to live here.

If these were to be rent controlled, or specifically for people making only a certain income, etc then you have a point. But if this was just market rate housing (or something that people will use for second homes, or vrbos...) and this is an expensive area, then the development will just be driving up housing costs, and they'll be fixing their own frozen pipes anyway. 

post #17 of 20

Big part of the problem is local land use and zoning policies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christy319 View Post
 
 

 

I don't think anyone here is arguing that low density is an environmental good. This is about housing costs. And high density does not equal lower housing costs--if it did, Manhattan, Vancouver BC and San Francisco would be the most affordable places in North America, not the most expensive. (This is a huge issue in cities feeling the housing squeeze right now, like Seattle and SF--there is plenty of evidence to show that density based on new development just drives up housing costs, as it usually replaces older, affordable housing, and the new units almost always cater to higher income buyers). 

 

Also, what ski towns are "mandating huge lots"? Do you have examples? I suppose that might happen, but when I think of the towns with the highest housing costs--Telluride or Ketchum, for example--homes are not generally on large lots, and these are compact towns. Think of how compact and relatively dense (for ski towns) Vail and Whistler are, and think of how expensive these places are. Are you thinking of developments outside of towns, where developers are carving up former ranches and building McMansions on huge lots? I agree that kind of sprawl is gross, but that's not happening because adjacent cities are telling those developers the minimum house size is an acre and they have to build 10K sf houses. The developer is doing that because that's where the money is. 

 

Quote:
 It is certainly true around here where the "environmentalists" fight every development and usually wind up getting the density and the number of units reduced--see Sierra Watch, Mountain Area Preservation Foundation, and a whole host of others. These folks think they're environmentalists when all they really are is nimbys. The joke will be on them when they have to bump their own chairs and fix they're own frozen pipes because no one who can do either can afford to live here.

If these were to be rent controlled, or specifically for people making only a certain income, etc then you have a point. But if this was just market rate housing (or something that people will use for second homes, or vrbos...) and this is an expensive area, then the development will just be driving up housing costs, and they'll be fixing their own frozen pipes anyway. 

Your first point--about SF, NYC, Vancouver--one reason these places have high density (I'll take your word about Vancouver) is because high housing prices force it. These places are expensive because they are desirable and because they are geographically constrained. Can you imagine what prices would be like if the high density housing were replaced with 1 house per acre?

Your second point--examples. Truckee. see the zoning map http://www.townoftruckee.com/home/showdocument?id=11807 and key http://www.townoftruckee.com/departments/planning-division/zoning-administrator/zoning-maps. Truckee has higher density areas--mostly much older neighborhoods and there has been some multi family affordable built more recently, but at this point buildable land is zoned for lower densities.

Your third point--yes, density alone wouldn't solve the problem. Mandated affordable housing will be essential, and will only be practical from a developers standpoint if they are allowed to increase density. And maybe you could explain how building more units drives up housing costs? A devloper can make more money selling 100 small units for 100K each than 10 units for 1M each, due to the higher cost per sf of the latter. If your planning mandates small high density units the rich won't buy--rich people don't want 500 sf condos in high rises. They'll just drive up the cost of the existing big houses on big lots. So even without subsidies and income caps the small units will be affordable.

 

Housing affordability is of course driven to a large extent by the increasingly gross disparities in income and wealth in the developed world, and development policy can only affect it to a degree, but

ski towns have a choice to make between maintaining a picturesque, semirural ambience and facilitating a higher density, more urban, more affordable environment. So far it appears most have opted for the former. Part of the problem is that ski towns love expensive second homes owned by people who don't vote and which generate large property tax revenues without using public services, especially schools, and also utilities, waste services,  and parks and rec. (Truckee has a park and rec program that would be the envy of any big city.)


Edited by oldgoat - 1/26/16 at 7:14pm
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by raisingarizona View Post
 

It has become much, much worse though. 

Not so sure.  I see a fair bit of affordable housing developments, but there are also more workers, so who knows?

 

Heck this was an issue when Warren Miller was getting started in Sun Valley a million years ago.

 

We should definitely debate this over a beer!

 

Though I'm only in Teton Village one more night this year.

post #19 of 20

Not saying this because I've been drinking but I think the only way to stay afloat in a ski town is to create a house that can be attached to a large balloon to allow for easy relocation when the snobbery level and HOA fees get too high.

post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by HRPufnStf View Post
 

Not so sure.  I see a fair bit of affordable housing developments, but there are also more workers, so who knows?

 

Heck this was an issue when Warren Miller was getting started in Sun Valley a million years ago.

 

We should definitely debate this over a beer!

 

Though I'm only in Teton Village one more night this year.

I wish I could but it's a long drive from Flagstaff to the Village! 

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