DEAR EDITOR:

For years, our Telluride community has been talking about the need to provide affordable housing options for working families, but substantive solutions have been hard to come by. The good news is that there is a real answer that will provide a sizable, tangible investment in affordable housing, while pausing new short-term rental licenses for two years, and it will be on our local ballot this November.

You don’t have to live in Telluride for very long to know that few men and women who work here can afford to live here. And that, in turn, diminishes the economic diversity and inclusiveness that we desire.

This ballot question, which will be on our local ballot this November, offers us the opportunity to make a substantial difference in affordable housing in Telluride. We can move beyond divisive arguments and empty gestures and unite to, at long last, do something about this persistent challenge.

By voting yes on the Telluride Housing Affordability proposal (Question 2D on the ballot) we can invest town funds directly in the development and preservation of both temporary and affordable workforce housing. This includes buying land where affordable housing can be built.

Where will this new money come from?

The measure institutes a 100 percent increase in the licensing fee for short-term rentals, generating an estimated $200,000 or more in its first year. That’s a substantial investment in opening new housing opportunities for our workers and their families, and it will be accomplished without asking local taxpayers for one dime.

This step forward is just part of why Question 2D will earn your vote.

Many in our community have raised thoughtful concerns about the overall impact of the increased popularity of short-term rentals. Telluride isn’t alone: Communities across Colorado and across the country are wrestling with wisely managing local short-term rentals. One common thread in all these towns and cities is that there are no easy answers and promises of instant remedies to a complex issue are an illusion.

That’s why this measure contains a two-year pause in the issuance of new short-term rental licenses through November 2023. This will give our entire community, including our elected leaders, the opportunity to carefully consider the total economic impact of short-term rentals.

The two parts of this question: The pause in new short-term rental licenses combined with the doubling of licensing fees represents one of the biggest steps forward for affordable housing in Telluride in many years. It is the answer we have been looking for — injecting funding into this perennial problem — unlike the competing question on the ballot that will reduce the amount of funding available for affordable housing.

Question 2D offers us the chance to engage in a community-wide conversation about an actual solution, rather than just engaging in one pie fight after another that never accomplishes anything for working families. Watch local media, and social media, for upcoming town hall forums on affordable housing solutions, including this ballot question, that are so critical to building an inclusive, welcoming Telluride.

It’s time for Telluride to step up for our local workforce. All of us who live in Telluride benefit from the hard work and dedication of these men and women and all they want is a place to live close to where they work. We can seize this chance to help these men and women who are so eager to join us as neighbors. Let’s not miss this chance!

Keith Hampton and Stacy Ticsay

Telluride