Letter — Put citizens first
February 26, 2003
The Tahoe Daily Tribune recently printed a series of articles entitled “American Dream” and asked if cities or businesses have an obligation to provide affordable housing. I would add that local government must do more to protect “blue- collar,” middle-income housing that already exists, in addition to creating new projects.
To illustrate my point, consider the plight of the Tahoe Shores Mobile Home community in Stateline. Last year, a developer purchased this property, one of the few remaining communities in this area where middle income working families can afford a home, and has notified this homeowners of a forthcoming rent increase most in this community will find unaffordable. They sought relief from the Douglas County Commission in the form of a rent-control ordinance, which the commissioners initially supported, but later rejected, subsequent to the private lobbying effort by the developer.
No one wants government to micromanage peoples’ lives (does TRPA come to mind?), but neither should people be forced to stand idly by and watch their neighborhoods empty as freedom from government interference is abused by those who have no long-term stake in the health of the community. TRPA’s policies encourage developers to purchase housing available to blue-collar workers in order to replace them with empty vacation homes for the rich. It seems everywhere you look, you see another new set of bland, overpriced condominiums. But look closer … what you are really looking at is a house of cards that cannot stand, but will continue to be built until local government is committed to ensuring that the heart and soul of the community is not forced out to make room for those who only see our community as an opportunity to make a fast buck.
Local government cannot control runaway land values, but it does have the authority to control — if it chooses to use it — developers who seek to profit from a situation they are exploiting. Let’s put our citizens first!
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