Bryon Walston responds to three housing questions

The Times-Independent asked each of the ten remaining candidates for Moab City Council three questions regarding housing and taxation. Seven of the candidates responded, two of them after press time. Here is a link to the full story.

Bryon Walston

How do you plan to close the gap between rents and incomes in Moab? Is the right approach to raise incomes, lower rents, or both? How would you do either of those things?

We do need better paying jobs to diversify the economy here in Grand county. We need to encourage other types of industry to come to Moab. There are multiple ways to do so. The new USU College will help. I believe in market economics. With a better supply of affordable housing we would get better rents. There are just under 800 units in the planing for housing that will reduce the need. We need to work with the developers and the citizens to meet that balance.

A significant reason the city has unaffordable rents is low-density housing. Much of the city is zoned for single-family houses, which are unaffordable for most residents. The zones for apartment complexes and other high-density housing options are severely limited. Do you view this as a problem? How would you address it?

We need to examine all zoning regulations and work to modify them to enable us to build more mother-in laws units, tiny homes and more multiple dwelling affordable houses. With the new lot size and house square footage reduction requirement; it will slowly help with the housing shortage. In the next year or so we will see many new affordable housing projects because of the demand we have now. Residents who have lived and bought in areas of town need their property rights protected. We need to be fair with everyone. Working with and not demanding is a good start in the right direction. 

The City of Moab does not directly benefit from increasing property values because it does not levy a property tax, making it largely dependent on tourism for tax revenue. Should the city levy a property tax? Explain.

I believe that we do not need a city property tax. We pay alot to live in this community all ready. We are a Destination Resort community. We need to examine the issues and let tourism pay for the problems or issues that the industry brings to town.