Vermont Business Magazine The Mad River Valley Planning District (MRVPD) is happy to announce the completion of the 2017 Mad River Valley Housing Study. The purpose of the 2017 MRV Housing Study is to better understand the current housing situation and guide a multifaceted approach to increase access to affordable housing in order to support future economic growth and long-term viability in the Mad River Valley.
The three towns of Waitsfield, Warren, and Fayston share many of the same housing challenges including seasonality, abundance of second-homes, poor quality housing stock built between 1960-1979, and a lack of wastewater capacity to support housing development in appropriate locations. Affordable housing is key to retaining and attracting young people, as well as maintaining a strong workforce, but rising housing costs have been outpacing increases in median household income between 2000 and 2014.
Purchasing a single-family home is out of reach for all but those households that earn above 120% of area median income. Finding an affordable rental is difficult as well, a single person earning minimum wage would have to work 93 hours a week to afford a market-rate 1 bedroom unit and the same person working 40 hours per week would have to earn $22.22 an hour to afford a similar unit in the Mad River Valley.
The Study outlines a variety of housing types and recommendations to increase the supply of affordable housing including increasing wastewater capacity (particularly in Irasville), incentivizing and connecting landlords with tenants, committing municipal resources (in the form of land or water/wastewater capacity) to housing projects to reduce fixed costs of development, and utilizing tiny houses as a strategy to quickly increase the supply of affordable housing.
One of the Study’s recommendations has already been implemented through a partnership between the MRVPD and Sugarbush Resort to establish the Tenants for Turns program. Tenants for Turns is the first East Coast program of its kind and offers local homeowners incentives to rent to Sugarbush employees. More information about the program can be found at www.sugarbush.com/discover/employment/employee-housing
The Study serves as a step toward understanding and addressing the MRV’s housing challenge. Affordable housing was identified as a key to future economic vitality via the 2014 MRV Economic Study, as well as subsequent community dialogues with the business community. The Study is a tool to educate and serve as a foundation for individual and collective action.
A full version of the Study, as well as an easy-to-read version, are available for download on the MRVPD website at www.mrvpd.org under the News & Notes heading. If you would like more information, please contact Kristine Keeney at 802-496-7179 or by email at email@example.com.
The Mad River Valley Planning District was created in 1985 by the Towns of Fayston, Waitsfield and Warren. The Purpose of the Planning District is to "carry out a program of planning for the future of the Mad River Valley. The planning program shall be directed toward the physical, social, economic, fiscal, environmental, cultural and aesthetic well being of the member Towns and its inhabitants."
Source: Waitsfield, VT, November 29, 2017 - The Mad River Valley Planning District