Letter: Second homeowners are entitled to an opinion, not a vote

Regarding Mr. Buccino’s comments about his “affinity for everyone who owns property in Steamboat. Not just the people who vote.”

The implication of this statement is that owning multiple properties confers a political voice in multiple locations. Voting rights are tied to a single place of residence, period. Second home owners are entitled to an opinion, but without residency, not a vote.

What I do know about the demographic he appears to represent is that someone who buys property for short-term rental purposes until moving full time is engaging in speculation, which involves risks. It is no one’s intention to be hostile toward these owners; though it isn’t the responsibility of residents (property owners or not) to act against their own interests to meet the needs of speculators either.

There is no guarantee that all these second property owners will actually retire here anyway, what then? Perhaps these speculators could examine why they haven’t moved here already? Is it because some couldn’t find their own work and/or also afford current housing here? The struggle is understood, but unfortunately being perpetuated by this particular process.

Part of the social contract of a community is balancing the needs of everyone in the community whether everyone reaps those benefits directly or indirectly. This place is desirable because the breadth of its members fully participate in the social contract. If these real estate speculators feel their investment is in jeopardy, I am sympathetic. However many residents make countless sacrifices to live and work here now. There has been an erosion of the social contract for the cooks, firefighters, housekeepers, law-enforcement, mechanics, nurses, retail workers, servers, teachers and their families who make this town a town, who face severely limited affordable primary housing to rent or to buy or who live next to a turbulent stream of nightly renters.

What I would hope from the people who wish to make a second home or their retirement home here is the trust in the current residents’ various ways to reclaim the community as a more affordable place to live. Perhaps they can appreciate rental taxes, fees and overlay zones as their contribution to the vibrancy of the future home they wish to enjoy.

J. McComb

Steamboat Springs

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