2017-01-19 / Views

Housing as a county priority

It’s extremely early in the two-year life of the new Leelanau County Board of Commissioners, but so far we like what we’ve seen.

Let’s look at the eternal “affordable housing” issue, for lack of a better name.

The problem with continuing to use “affordable housing” is that it’s taken on the god-like attributes of Social Security. As any quick-study of modern politics will affirm, politicians run from reference to the predictable financial implosion of the Social Security program because any answer they might suggest will be met with hysterical resistance.

Affordable housing is just as controversial in Leelanau County. Take a strong stand either for or against government involvement, and you’re a leftist or a card-carrying member of the John Birch Society.

That leaves little room to find a solution, or at least a start toward offering housing at a price that working people of the county can afford.

The subject came up again last week when the County Board discussed goals for its 2017 session. Five votes were known, those of three Republicans and two Democrats.

We had no idea what to expect from the two newest members of the board, both Republicans.

Said Casey Noonan of Empire Township, who was elected in November, “It’s not that I think the county should start spending money to build affordable homes or anything, but this is such a big deal for so many people in our county that I think the county Board should at least continue considering ways we might help solve the problem.”

Frequent swing-voter Tony Ansorge of Elmwood Township agreed.

And so do we.

Actually, Commissioner Melinda Lautner’s off-the-off rhetorical question was right on target. She wanted to know if there were any trailer parks in Cleveland Township — and if not, why?

Forty acres, 100 lots and sewer hookups would go a long way toward solving Leelanau’s housing shortage.

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