McCall’s Andrew Mentzer told Sun Valley Economic Summit participants that they should consider forming a Yes-in-My-Backyard group to back development of housing for working residents.

The West Central Mountains Economic Council executive director was preaching to the choir—business owners, managers, nonprofit directors, volunteers, students and public officials.

It wasn’t news to them that when it comes to housing, local paychecks are like greyhounds chasing a rabbit they will never catch.

It was a shame that most of the other part of the Sun Valley area congregation, retirees and second-home owners, weren’t there. Their absence was familiar, a sign of the disconnect between major segments of the area’s population.

Forming a YIMBY group would provide a counterweight to the crush of objections that pile up every time a new local-income housing development is proposed. Even so, it would be better to fix the disconnect.

It’s possible to live in the Sun Valley area for decades, enjoy every ounce of the experience and still have no clue about what makes the place tick.

The disconnect is unhealthy. It could ruin the economy and drain the life out of our mountain towns if it’s not fixed.

It’s time for YIMBYs and NIMBYs to connect over coffee, lunch or beers. It’s time to discover that we are bound more by an affection for mountain life than by what separates us.

Life in mountain resort towns doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game. No law says that one group’s gain has to be another’s loss. It’s only that way if we make it so.

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