Letter: Vote for 2A to support the future of our community
It has been 51 years since I moved to Steamboat. With a population of 2,000 in the city at that time, there was a shortage of “affordable housing.” I lived in several houses where we carried in our water, showered at the pool and worked our service industry jobs. A tourist town then; a tourist town now.
Little has changed, really. Yes, the population has grown, the number of tourists has grown and the number of buildings and businesses have grown. That’s because this is a wonderful place to visit and to live. As Hazie Werner famously said, “We made room for you.”
You know what? This is still our beloved town, our home and the center of our lives. We are the keepers of our surroundings, responsible for each other …. our friends and neighbors and the future for our children.
Respect for friends, neighbors and coworkers is on the top of my mind. We all need to make decisions that are best for the entire community. We must think of each other, respect one another, not just live a life that benefits us individually.
November’s ballot includes question 2A that relates to short-term rentals. We have watched as investments of homes in our residential neighborhoods has become a business transaction with benefits simply serving the individual at the cost of the neighborhood families. These investments are doing harm to the collective health and well-being of our community. It takes away housing from our friends and neighbors and disrupts the cohesiveness and friendliness of local neighborhoods. Homes are needed for those whose jobs support the very tourists who keep this town alive and vibrant.
Our elected officials have taken the pulse of the population and created some barriers to the continuation of this disruption. However, many STRs will remain based on the grandfathered permits to continue the practice in many residential areas.
With that said, the least we can do as active participants in the future of our community is to vote in favor of taxing this form of individual financial benefit in order to be a benefit to the entire community. We owe that much to one another as we embrace the concept of being “keepers of our community.”
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