Developing affordable resident housing in ski resorts, municipal programs and policies for Whistler, British Columbia

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Laing, Christopher David
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Affordable resident housing within mountain resorts has been the focus of affected municipal governments over the past decade. With the aging of the population a d the current trend in maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle, mountain resort communities have become a highly desirable area in which to reside. Aging baby boomers and wealthy international investors value properties in mountain resort communities for their small town ambience and abundance of recreational activities. This trend has developed at the expense of the resident work force in these communities, as their earning power has been eroded by a real estate market driven by international rather than local forces. As a result, the local residents of a community are unable to afford real estate within the community. The purpose of this practicum is to fully explore municipal policies and programs which can be used to facilitate the private development of, and to directly develop affordable resident housing in resort areas. The main methods of facilitation and development of affordable housing on the part of a municipality are derived from a literature review of existing and proposed methods combined with two case studies of Vail and Aspen Colorado. The practicum concluded that a multi-faceted approach must be used to develop the housing and to keep it affordable over time. The main policy reforms that can be used to facilitate the development of affordable housing are those of density bonusing, inclusionary zoning, single family zoning amendments and fee waivers. The new policies of imposing real estate title transfer taxes, demolition permit taxes and regulatory reform contribute to the establishment of a steady stream of revenue that is dedicated towards the development of affordable housing.