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How do you intend to address our region's housing shortage?

Full Question

In a recent Traverse Connect focus group comprised of individuals who recently moved to the region, participants noted the availability of housing as a barrier to life in the region. How do you intend to address our region's housing shortage?

Response

The most important step is to talk about this regularly at the county level. There is no single solution to housing availability, as the problems are different in each segment of the market. A first step should be to standardize zoning definitions across townships to simplify planning and execution for developers. Continuing the permit streamlining and consolidation work at the county and township level is also important. Encouraging building-code compliant manufactured housing is perhaps the only way to address the skill-trades labor shortage. Aggressively pursuing and advocating for subsidized housing grants is critical to low-wage worker housing. Re-instituting a county-wide planning commission would also be an important step to avoid the County turning into a version of Houston in the Midwest. A stronger county-wide septic ordinance or state-wide law with uniform enforcement would go a long way to protecting watersheds as the county develops.