You don’t need to live on an island to know what it feels like. That’s the situation in places like Vail, CO, where land is scarce and employees have nowhere to live. I’m seeing this trend up close in Newport and Key West. It’s not good. Fred A. Bernstein explains the tough housing situation in Vail and Nantucket in The Wall Street Journal, writing:
At first, the two towns seem to have little in common: Vail, Colo., a ski-resort community two hours west of Denver, is bisected by Interstate 70, while Nantucket, Mass., an island off Cape Cod, is reachable only by boat or plane. But Vail, at an average elevation of 8,150 feet, is surrounded by the White River National Forest. “We might as well be an island,” says George Ruther, the town’s housing director, who is charged with finding places for middle-class workers—including the town’s more than 300 employees—to live.
“If that wasn’t national forest, it would all be built on,” Ruther says, pointing to the carpet of trees flanking I-70. “Our challenge with housing,” he says, “has always been the scarcity of land.”
Nantucket likewise faces a scarcity of buildable land, and not just because of the ocean that surrounds it. Groups dedicated to protecting nature have been buying up property and, in some cases, tearing down houses to achieve their goals. The Nantucket Land Bank, established by the town in 1983 to promote conservation, outdoor recreation and agriculture, and lavishly funded by a tax on real-estate transactions, has acquired nearly 12% of the island’s 30,000 acres. Together, the Land Bank, the Nantucket Conservation Foundation and several other nature-oriented nonprofits own nearly half the island of Nantucket.
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E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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