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Letter to the editor: Single-family housing must be preserved

Letter to the editor: Single-family housing must be preserved

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Editor:

It’s difficult to miss the “Hand Off Our Homes” signage while traveling through Fort Ann ... this is an important debate that is flying under the radar.

The town of Fort Ann is proposing a regulatory code for short-term rentals. It appears many in the town oppose such action.

There are obvious benefits for communities to embrace short-term rentals: They provide tax revenue, increase employment opportunities for select maintenance personnel, moderately boost local economies; among other benefits.

There are also downsides with these properties. With widespread online advertisement, these properties can attract large groups that are looking for a weekend party house. Short term rentals have also slightly compromised the hotel industry, while at the same time reduced the amount of potential long-term rentals.

Even more concerning, there is evidence short-term rentals raise the price of single-family housing, as fewer homes are available for purchase while investors outbid homeowners to expand their rental portfolios.

This is the complex nature of private property. When one purchases a house/land, should they not be able to rent/sell their property whenever they choose? Unfortunately, corporate interest in the rental industry has compromised this important tenet of American society.

Wide swaths of American houses are being purchased by investment groups to control private property, while reducing the likelihood that future American families will be able to purchase the homes they will reside in. We will be a nation of renters before long.

We have to ask ourselves an important question: How do we preserve single-family housing and guarantee future generations will be able to purchase their own homes? Will our embrace of short-term rentals ultimately lead us down a path we will regret before long? The town of Fort Ann is right in attempting to quell this trend. Single-family housing must be preserved.

Eric Geisel, Putnam Station

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