Letter: Second-home owners should not be vilified
We do not support the repeated news articles, quotes and letters to the editor that insinuate and hold second-home owners and visitors responsible for every negative in the community, whether it be making home ownership unaffordable, overuse of the community resources, spreading disease or hiring private chefs at the expense of local restaurants.
We find this an unfair and inaccurate generalization. Second-home owners pay the same property tax rate as full-time residents in relation to property value. In general, second-home owners use less services and have been discriminated against by having to pay more than residents for things like playing golf. Second-home owners’ children do not attend the schools, they use the roads less frequently and consume less of the natural and city resources. Typically, they support the restaurants more frequently than full-time residents.
Personally, we know at least three second-home owners who donate their time, talents and money to three of the largest nonprofits in the community. Many of the second-home owners we know are incredibly generous to the nonprofits.
Others such as Dr. Shires (featured on the front page of the Feb. 5 Steamboat Pilot & Today) is called by Kathy Connell, “…an unlikely hero for our community. … He is a second-home owner who lived here passively and fell in love with our community.” According to the article, the proceeds from the sale of this passive second-home owner’s home will be benefiting several organizations, including the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, Youth Hockey Association and Steamboat Digs Dogs in excess of $200,000.
If the city is interested in affordable housing, there are people in this community with this specific expertise who have been ignored because their ideas “were not invented here” versus being embraced.
Second-home owners (like Dr. Shires) and visitors make a significant direct and indirect contribution to an excellent school and health care system making Steamboat a desirable place to live for professionals in these fields, which is an enormous benefit to the full-time residents.
If the community wants to return to Steamboat of old, then advertisements of Ski Town USA and Bike Town USA should cease in order to discourage visitors coming.
Should the community continue to vilify visitors and second-home owners, they will go elsewhere, resulting in significant job losses, fewer restaurants/retail merchants as well as reduced contributions to the worthy nonprofits as there will be fewer people to support them.
Heidi and Doug Shurtleff
Steamboat Springs and Laguna Beach, California
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