Thoughts from Dale Steenbergen-
It is nothing short of astonishing to look at the MLS sheet and realize that Cheyenne has about a 30-day supply of housing listed for sale. What is even more sobering is knowing that a healthy housing market has about a six-month supply available.
Two years ago, your Chamber conducted a housing study, and at the time, we needed 3,000 homes to catch up with demand. Today, the shortage is even greater. I cannot think of a more important issue in our community right now than affordable housing. It is ridiculous to think that any economic development of import will come to Laramie County without first fixing our housing shortage. I know there are those of you out there who disagree with this premise and believe that housing should not be a top priority. Let me ask you this question; What kind of a company would move its employees to a community that did not have adequate, quality housing for its workers? The answer is simple, “a bad one.” We also tend to devise ways to offer incentives to some developments and then lay off those costs on new housing subdivisions. Historically we have loved to do this in Cheyenne and Laramie County. This practice is unacceptable, and if we continue, we are going to end up without two pennies to rub together. How do we resolve the issue? Unfortunately, no single solution can fix our current situation, but by approaching the issue broadly, we can get a handle on it over time.
The first and most obvious fix is to reduce entry barriers for home builders.
Make it easier and less costly to permit and file paperwork and reduce water, sewer, and regulatory costs.
Work to continue and expand projects like the EUL.
Your Chamber continues to believe that our ongoing housing issue is one of the most important economic development priorities we can tackle. We must work to solve it if we want Cheyenne and Laramie County to have a successful financial future.