What to Watch in 2019: Affordable Housing

If you ask anyone in Door County how business is going, you’ll open a door that inevitably winds up as a discussion about housing.

To run a successful business, you need good workers, and there is perhaps no bigger challenge in attracting and keeping good workers in Door County than finding affordable housing, both for seasonal and permanent employees.

In early 2019 we expect to see the results of a housing study produced with AECOM Technology Corporation that’s been nearly a year in the making. In the spring of 2018, the Door County Economic Development Corporation embarked on a survey of business owners and workers to pinpoint the gaps in Door County’s housing supply.

Early feedback from surveys, interviews and listening sessions revealed much that those who have searched for housing are all too familiar with. This includes a lack of entry-level homes in the $130,000 to $200,000 range; a lack of rental apartments in general, but particularly apartments priced below $800 a month; and the poor condition of much of the rental housing stock.

In April, our annual Sustainability Issue will also focus on this issue, which has as great an impact on the sustainability of our local economy as any other. We’ll investigate how other tourism-fueled regions have tackled the housing problem, examine which rules and regulations hamper our housing stock and just what constitutes affordable housing in our unique community.