Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Local businesses want legislative action on housing

Editor’s note: The following is an Addison County Economic Development Corp. letter sent on Monday to Sen. Chris Bray, chair of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, and Rep. Amy Sheldon, chair of the House Committee on Environment and Energy, and to members of those committees.

Dear Committee Members:

We are writing on behalf of our member businesses and businesses in our region to express our strong support for the tri-partisan housing proposals that have been introduced in H.719 and S.311.

The impact of the current housing shortage cannot be overstated. The lack of available and affordable housing affects our ability to attract new individuals and families to our region and serves as a substantial obstacle to business development and economic growth. The shortage of affordable housing is consistently identified by the businesses in our region as one of the top issues impacting their ability to attract and retain employees for every level of their workforce.

The ACEDC board, representing businesses across all sectors, business sizes and business stages, recognizes the critical importance of taking action now to address the housing deficit. The regulatory and municipal zoning changes, tax proposals, funding and other proposals, as included in H.719 and S.311 would make it easier, less expensive and faster for the private and public sectors to build more housing and more affordable housing, while continuing to avoid sprawl or provide incentives for development outside of designated areas.

These bills represent a responsible and sustainable approach to increased housing development that will work to meet Vermont’s unprecedented housing supply challenges while continuing to maintain the stewardship to environmental protection that we all prioritize.

We urge you to support these important initiatives when they reach your respective committees and work to ensure final passage during this legislative session. To encourage the development of more housing, which will help ensure the overall well-being of our communities, and foster responsible economic growth, action is needed now.

Thank you for considering the needs of all Vermonters.

Sincerely,

Jason Larocque, ACEDC Board president, Otter Creek Engineering

Gina Larrow, Co-Op Insurance

David Castle, Mechanical Advantage

Christopher Lapierre, National Bank of Middlebury

Ryan Bartlett, Collins Aerospace

Mark Foster, Foster Brothers Farm

Richard McKerr, town of Middlebury

Robert Ortmyer, Porter Medical Center

Renny Perry, city of Vergennes

Susan P. Ritter, Middlebury College

Darcy Tarte, Board member

Bill Townsend, J.P. Carrara & Sons

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