Note: We are out of town and out of country and one of our neighbors, John Mackay, graciously offered to guest blog while we were gone. John and his wife Lorena lost their home in the Cold Springs Fire last summer and are in the midst of rebuilding. Below is an opinion piece John wrote.
Lorena and I haven’t been in Ned all that long, and we’re already having to build a house. It’s not fun,
and it’s an unbelievably expensive process. But even after factoring in the cost of architects, structural
engineers, HERS (environmental) raters, mandatory interior sprinkler systems and solar panels,
electric car outlets (we don’t have an electric car), and permits – not to mention the people who will
actually build the house – it’s cheaper to build new than buy an existing house in Boulder County.
People are getting top dollar and beyond for their existing homes. Housing is pricey here.
Boulder County needs affordable housing. But in the wrong place, housing isn’t affordable at all. Some
say the project under consideration in town is too dense, too tall, and too out-of-place for Ned – that it
won’t be good for Ned. But what about the people the new housing is supposed to help? Will it be
good, and affordable, for them? Consider these:
Where will they work? I bet there are more jobs on Pearl Street Mall alone than in all of Ned. Without
a decent car, the new residents will be limited to jobs, work schedules, and for some, child care
facilities, that conform to the RTD. With a car, at this elevation and distance, the commuting costs will
be high. That’s too big a limitation on people who need help.
Where will they shop? I’m a big fan of B&F, but I couldn’t afford to buy all my groceries there. Many
here stock up periodically down below, and supplement in town. That’s not practical by bus, and it’s too
much to impose on people who need help.
Where will they get medical care? We’re a little short on doctors up here. It’s inconvenient and time consuming to drive all the way to Boulder to see a doctor for the most routine matters, even with a car.
Imagine how much time it would take to do that by bus. Every appointment would means hours of
work lost to get to and from the doctor. For older people with medical issues, it could take all day. Isn’t
that too much to ask of them?
Affordable housing should be conveniently close to jobs, food, medical care, and the necessities of life.
Our pretty mountain town offers many things; convenience is not one of them. Ned is not the best place
for those who need affordable housing.