Norton’s Notions: “Two Wishes for 2019”

Below is an excerpt from the latest Norton’s Notions in the Crested Butte News.

“A couple years ago I wrote that Crested Butte Bike Week was a “Dead Dog on the side of the road.” The Chamber’s Ashley UpChurch is now having me eat those words.

Two Wishes for 2019

#1. That the town councils of Mt Crested Butte and Crested Butte reach accord with Gary Gates on The Corner at Brush Creek affordable housing project. 

The four owners of the land at the Corner—the county, the two towns, and the ski area—unanimously chose Gates’ bid over others’ as the developer of the property. Then the political slicing and dicing began. Originally at 240 units, the size of the project dropped to 220, and now sits at 180 with conditional approvals of the County Planning Commission and our county commissioners. The ski area appears supportive of the proposal. The towns, not so much.

The Housing Authority’s study concludes that the valley needs roughly 1,000 units of new housing by 2020, which now that it’s 2019 doesn’t seem so far away. The project would presumably house people who now work in Crested Butte. Highway 135, in the morning and evening, now looks like any parkway in America with commuters driving to and driving home from work.

The south valley vote against our recent housing tax proposal was in part a response to what is seen as north valley dithering on The Corner.

Gunnison housing is feeling the pinch as north valley employees push southward in search of housing.  Western can’t fill all its employee housing needs even amongst its professional positions. Federal land managers can’t attract the employees needed because of housing prices in the south valley. At least in our milder months, people with jobs are living in tents on our federal and state lands.

Housing is a global, national, state, and local problem. No one seems to like affordable housing proposals. 58% of our valley neighbors pay over 30% of their income in rent. An astonishing 26% pay over 50% of their incomes in rent.

Will some elected officials please push this over the goal line?”

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