I wonder where the letters are that say: “How about these employers get real by raising wages, so all their employees would have a chance to buy/rent a place of their own?” Instead, everyone is asking long-term residents in high density areas to endure the burden of housing employees, instead of the employers.

You want to get real? Tell the employers who want to house their employees to raise employee wages. Not one of these “creative ideas” discusses the employer bearing the burden—instead, hundreds of homeowners have to bear that burden for a few employees to be housed. What if these property owners want to sell their homes in the future? They are stuck with Joe Blow’s employee housing mess, and no one wants to buy or deal with that.

These employers are not even hospitals or EMTs or the police department: they are mostly retail businesses. What if the employees have kids or pets? Not to mention the high turnover for these businesses, and what about when the businesses fail or go bankrupt? Who has the responsibility of maintaining the water and sewer for these makeshift RVs or camps once they are built? After the business fails, do you think a new owner will take all that responsibility? What if employees don’t like their work situation, or worse, feel threatened by an employer and want to leave but can’t because they would lose their housing? This is fantasy planning for employers and a nightmare reality for residents who bought property years ago.   

If this is a “crisis”and affordable housing is a crisisthen include everyone. If people got paid wages that match the sky-high rentals around here, or if they were given full-time jobs or decent housing options, instead of RVs or swamp land with portapotties, they would stay, be healthy and thrive. 

The Grand County Planning Commission should know that people who want to work here will come and stay and pay taxes. That is sustainable. I highly doubt that they will have dignity or long-term plans if these plans are thrown together without even one employer coming forward offering something real that these people want or need.

Go to the employers for creativity and funding and let them solve it. This is not a burden you can pass on to residents and property owners. But if nothing changes, you should ask employers to compensate the property owners who are negatively impacted while the employers rake in astounding profits and continue to drain resources. Employers need to step up to get their employees housing without stepping on long-term residents in “certain areas,” period.

Nancy Oneal