Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Letter to the Editor


Our valley is a region unto itself, where we share stunning mountain vistas as well as plentiful, but at some point, limited resources.  The Wenatchee River and Highway 2 form the corridor that runs the length of our region, linking it together in many ways.

People have made and continue to make choices as to jobs and economic opportunities, sports and recreation, and overall quality of life. For these reasons, many folks continue to come to our valley to live.

In real estate, location is everything; most importantly, location determines land values.  Construction costs and materials are fairly standard although ever increasing. It is the price of land itself that has a major impact on the final selling price.  Reflecting its desirability, Leavenworth’s land prices are the highest in the entire region. This makes Leavenworth a difficult location to plan for and build affordable housing.

We in Leavenworth have been trying to solve the affordable housing issue all by ourselves, with little success.  Our mayor campaigned and ran on the popular promise of providing affordable housing.  During his 4-year term, he has persuaded our city Council to approve numerous high-density zoning code changes.  As a result, several new dense housing developments have been built according to these codes.  But their selling prices are in the millions!  So despite his many repeated promises he has been unable to accomplish one single affordable unit being built.  That’s how difficult it is to build affordable housing in a location with extremely high land values.

What this means is that no one town can provide the answer to a regional problem.  We need to widen our perspective and find regional solutions and locations for affordable housing that have lower land values. Elmer Larsen’s recent letter lays this out clearly. He proposes that the upper valley communities (Leavenworth, Cashmere, Dryden, Peshastin and the County) work together to build affordable housing near the middle of our region.   By pooling our resources, including grants and other funding, and enhancing public transportation options, we can solve these housing needs. He suggests Dryden or Peshastin as suitable locations. I concur.

Ann Crosby




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