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As we continue to build luxury complexes, the average cost of housing rises for all of us. If we do not include attainable units with new development, the housing market will become so hostile that it’ll price out our police, teachers, and firefighters in addition to service workers who are already struggling.
One continuous refrain is used to justify this trend. Supply and demand; a simple economic metric. However, with the housing market, it is an incompatible and ignorant remark. Yes, if we build the supply of housing past demand, landlords will lower their prices to be competitive, but there is no guarantee where the lower cost apartments will land in the aftermath of a falling market. Will the prices in Candelas drop significantly enough so that a cashier at the new King Soopers can buy a house? I highly doubt it. What will happen, and what is already happening in Arvada, is a stratification of people. Those working hourly minimum wage will live outside the city and commute in. This stratification sends the very clear message that those serving our food are good enough to wait on us but not good enough to be our neighbors. A particularly stressing reality when Arvada thinks of itself as neighborly and inviting.
I’m not saying new development doesn’t have positive impacts. What I am saying is that it needs to happen in an intelligent way. If city council ignores the negative consequences faced by the work force they have clearly decided who they care about and who they are telling to shove it.
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