Vermont is in a housing crisis. Everyone admits it but the governor and the legislature can’t seem to work together to solve the problem. Act 250 is over 50 years old. Is it a major part of the problem that needs to be updated? Something needs to be done.

Affordable middle class housing is an essential part of a healthy community. A community’s wellbeing depends on its workforce and the workforce needs housing. Without new legislation that streamlines building regulations the tourist industry and our entire infrastructure will eventually crumble. Without affordable housing there will be no one to repair the homes already built, no one to work on the road crew, no one to grow our organic food, no wait staff for our restaurants and no young families needing schools. We are already witnessing the beginnings of this in our county.

I’ve been speaking with local builders trying to get their perspective on the problems behind the housing shortage. One builder put it plain and simple. “If you want more housing you have to allow it to be built. And the supply is limited by the regulations.” Shouldn’t the government be doing everything in its power to assist the builders rather than inhibit them? Does the community need to stop looking at new construction like it is a ruinous blight rather than a sign of flourishing?

It is estimated that over regulations and the delays it often causes increase the price of a home by twenty-three percent. That additional cost makes most homes unaffordable for the middle class. Sure we need septic and waste water permits. But how much more do we really need? Are we attempting to prioritize Vermont’s natural beauty to the point that no one will be around to appreciate it?

The housing crisis is a big problem. But until we realize that new construction is a blessing and not a curse we will never solve our shortage.

2 thoughts on “Why the Housing Shortage?

  1. The legislators have made it this way by stripping the rights of the landlords. When tenants don’t pay rent, there’s no consequence!! They can stay there free for a year, trash the place and when they leave they are off the hook. Why would anyone want to rent, or have rentals that are reasonably priced? New builds isn’t the only answer, they are needed but so is the protection of the landlords and their properties. And at the same time home aways/ airbnb/ vacation homes are bringing more people to rural communities to spend money that wouldn’t happen if they were to stay in a hotel or resort. The state gets the same rooms and meals tax, but more mom and pop places are getting the business. It’s not a one problem resolution

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