Now that the City Council has made a decision on accessory dwellings units and short-term rentals continue to be in the discourse on the housing shortage, I would like to offer a few thoughts and questions.
• The shortage of affordable units and the high cost for rents are only half the problem. Does the Santa Fe Housing Action Coalition support the “living wage” and other initiatives to bring up the salaries and wages of working people in the city? Although two working people earning the living wage may still find it hard to afford to live here, the city must be vigilant when issues of wage theft and intimidation of employees continue to occur.
• Are there any planned developments that address the housing needs for working people such as those in the hospitality and service industry? Maybe future projects should address the housing needs of low-income people and not a particular profession.
• The city professes to lack personnel to enforce the collection of taxes and fees from short-term rentals. Is broadcasting this situation an encouragement for more unlicensed units?
• How much of a dent will this new ordinance have on the waiting lists for the civic and county housing authorities? None probably, since ADUs and the waiting lists are in two different realms.
• Rents along Airport Road have started to soar; a one-bedroom can rent for $1,100. Is this another phase of gentrification as landlords see the rents throughout the city skewing upward?
There are no easy fixes for the affordable housing issues. Is rent stabilization too radical an idea for New Mexico? Just a thought.
Kenneth Pin was a planner with Santa Fe County whose master’s project was a housing needs assessment for the county. He lives and works in Santa Fe.