Door County Community Land Trust: affordability in a tourist region


What: Door County individuals and organizations created a Community Land Trust, which keeps housing affordable by separating out the house from the land. Individual homeowners own the structure of the house, but the Community Land Trust owns the land. Homeowners can make some profit off the sale of their house later on, but this is kept to a minimum to maintain long-term affordability in the community. There are other Community Land Trusts in Madison, Milwaukee, and the driftless area.


Why: As a tourist-centered community, Door County has a major affordability challenge. Housing costs are extremely high, catered towards wealthier households who can afford vacation homes, but the community still needs workers at gift shops, restaurants, galleries, tour guides, hotels, and more - jobs that do not pay enough to sustain the high cost of living.


How: A pastor in Door County used a broad-based relational model of community organizing to meet with people in his community one-on-one and identify their passions, interests, skills, and priorities. Through these conversations, it became clear that something needed to happen about housing. He began convening people he had met with to talk with one another about the challenge, and through research, they settled on the Community Land Trust Model.


Who: Door County Community Land Trust, founded by a group of "random" community members concerned about housing affordability

Where: Door County, WI

When: around 2020