Friday, February 03, 2006

Comments from a reader

I'm getting more comments on this blog lately, much of it responding to or commenting on matters related to Truman Annex and the Truman Waterfront. That's good. If the lawyers are given the task of sorting everything out, we're in for a protracted and expensive period of wrangling. If we are able to talk to each other as neighbors, there's a chance at least that we can avoid all that.

GW left this comment a few days ago:
There are a lot of seasonal residents who own property in Key West. It's no different here than anywhere else in the state. Or the country for that matter. Ownership is not a criminal act. There have been many times in Key West's history where the city has begged people to bring some dollars to this community and welcomed seasonal residents and tourists with open arms. That's what Julius Stone came here for. It's unfair to blame seasonal residents for the housing shortage. It's a very complex issue and loss of housing stock to seasonal residents is only a part of it.
GW | Email | Homepage | 01.28.06 - 6:21 pm | #

The comment refers to a paragraph in this post that reads: There's a letter in the Citizen today from a resident of The Shipyard about the TAMPOA lawsuit. The writer bemoans that it was necessary for TAMPOA to file suit against the City, and expresses sympathy for Bahama Village residents. He's right in some of what he says, but what struck me most was his observation that he occupies his unit only three months out of the year. It is vacant the rest of the year. He may not even realize that he's contributing to the shortage of housing and increasing rents that are denying housing to those who live here year round.

GW says, "It's unfair to blame seasonal residents for the housing shortage. It's a very complex issue and loss of housing stock to seasonal residents is only a part of it." That's what I meant when I said "contributing to". It is a complex issue. And I agree that seasonal residents don't bear all of the blame. Only some of it. Many of the Shipyard units were once homes for year-round residents. Now they will be unavailable even for monthly renters as they get rented to short-term transients. Same as a hotel. And, I submit, it is different here than elsewhere in the state and the country. We live on an island where it is extremely difficult to build more dwelling units to meet demand. It's why Key West's total population remains stable or declines over long periods while growing rapidly in other areas of the state.

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