Now is the time to invest in housing for the Big Sky workforce

LETTER TO THE EDITOR
The opinion of over 1,000 survey respondents says it all: 80 percent of owners and nearly all renters (93 percent) feel that the issue of people who work in Big Sky being able to find housing they can afford is “the most critical” or “one of the more serious” problems in the community. 

As the Big Sky Resort Area District Tax Board embarks on the difficult task of determining the 2018 resort tax appropriations we, the members of the Big Sky Housing Working Group, are asking the community to voice their support for the Big Sky Community Housing Trust (BSCHT) funding request. 

The Big Sky Housing Working Group represents a broad spectrum of interests in the Big Sky community including developers, non-profits, planning departments (Madison and Gallatin County), large and small employers and community organizations. Over the past year this group of people donated many hours over multiple work sessions formulating an action plan to create more housing opportunities for individuals and families in the Big Sky workforce. The Big Sky Housing Action Plan will be made public June 13, but the request for funding from the resort tax board is in line with the strategies outlined in the plan. 

The 2018 Big Sky Community Housing Assessment and Needs study showed that up to 655 housing units are needed over the next five years to address the current housing shortfall for residents and the workforce and keep up with job growth. Big Sky has a challenge ahead to address the housing needed by its residents and locally-employed households. The opinion of over 1,000 survey respondents says it all: 80 percent of owners and nearly all renters (93 percent) feel that the issue of people who work in Big Sky being able to find housing they can afford is “the most critical” or “one of the more serious” problems in the community. 

The Housing Action Plan to be released on the 13th will outline strategies and plans to begin addressing this critical need for the Big Sky Community. Priority actions will include making more long-term rentals available and increasing ownership opportunities; both at rates that are affordable for people who work in Big Sky—work in Big Sky, live in Big Sky.  

Private development struggles to meet this demand due to high costs and other factors. It is time for the community to lead the way through BSCHT initiatives. The BSCHT housing project and associated funding requests will begin to meet the housing needs of the local workforce, provide long-term affordability for families and individuals in Big Sky and show the community that the resort tax board is willing to invest in solutions that address one of Big Sky's most pressing issues. 

The detailed request for funding can be found at: www.resorttax.org

We appreciate your support. Please call or write to resort tax board members to express your opinion prior to June 18. 

The Big Sky Housing Working Group

 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at 1 p.m. Big Sky Resort Resort Area District Tax Office Big Sky Housing Working Group Final Report: Wendy Sullivan will be presenting the final report of the Big Sky Housing Working Group for the resort tax board. This event is open to the public and everyone is encouraged to attend. The report is the culmination of a year-long needs assessment and action planning effort led by the community and funded by the resort tax board to create a long-term plan to address the housing issues facing Big Sky. Also, a public presentation will also be held at the Big Sky Chapel from 5-7 p.m. on June 13.

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