Habitat Homes Near Lomardo/Clark Street FAQs

The following was distributed by a private developer during their open house for neighbors Oct. 20.

  • Who will pay for the extension of Clark Avenue? Habitat will pay the costs and/or obtain donated labor and materials from a contractor.
  • Will existing Clark Avenue north of the proposed subdivision be widened? Habitat has no plans for any work on the existing segments of Clark St. It would be up to the City to consider any street improvement work outside the boundaries of the subdivision.
  • What will happen to the wildlife that live on the property? Habitat has proposed to reserve 2 acres of green space on the north end of the tract. Wildlife will surely be displaced and dispersed in other areas to a significant degree, but some deer and other wildlife are expected to remain, and/or return following construction.
  • How long will it take to build out the subdivision? This will depend on market demand for lots and home applications received by Habitat. Time frames for completely filling the subdivision with homes may vary significantly from 5 – 15 years. Development of streets and utilities is expected to take approximately 15 – 18 months, unless phasing becomes necessary.
  • What will the traffic volumes be on Clark Avenue once it is extended? Amount of traffic flow on Clark could not be determined without extensive traffic survey and study. Even then, projections would be difficult to estimate accurately.  Some increase would undoubtedly occur and appropriate traffic controls, such as stop signs, speed limits, etc. will need to be determined by the city.
  • Will the project worsen storm water drainage for the surrounding properties? City ordinance requires a storm water management plan including detention that will keep the post development run-off in a 25-year storm less than the pre-development run-off. We are looking at alternatives to improve drainage from existing streets east of the subdivision and possibly create additional detention on the south side beyond the minimum requirement that has been planned.
  • What will the median home price be? ARK Appraisals, a certified appraisal firm that specializes in residential appraisals has completed an appraisal of the basic house plan we anticipate.   The appraisal for a home with a basement is $130,000.  The appraisal for the plan with a safe room instead of a basement was only $108,000.  Therefore, we are giving serious consideration to requiring basements in all of the houses in this subdivision.
  • Would the entire site be cleared at once? We are exploring the possibility of phasing the project, which would potentially result in a deferral of grading in some areas, but the current expectation is that the entire site would be graded at one time.
  • When would construction begin? Grading would likely begin in the late spring or early summer of 2017 and construction of streets and utilities would immediately follow.
  • Who is making the money on the development? This project is not intended to be a profit generating venture. All land acquisition and development costs are expected to be donated.  Habitat for Humanity is a Not-For-Profit 501(C) (3) corporation and is routinely allocated Missouri Tax Credits that can be provided to business donors.  This project is planned to be funded fully from donations incentivized by the availability of these tax credits.  With tax credits businesses, and individuals with business income, are able to give dollars to Habitat for Humanity Home building and development projects that would otherwise be paid to the government for taxes.
  • Are there examples of a development like this elsewhere? Habitat for Humanity affiliates across the country and Missouri have been developing subdivisions for the last 20 years plus. In fact, Habitat for Humanity International considers affiliate organizations to be fully matured when they are able to develop subdivisions and to engage in neighborhood revitalization efforts in a variety of areas across the community.  Columbia, MO, and Springfield, MO, for example, are both currently in the middle of building out their second subdivision.
  • Does the market bear that many Habitat homes? There is a continuing and growing demand for Habitat homes throughout our service area.  There is also an unmet demand for residential lots at an affordable price upon which an individual or family can construct a modest sized home privately.  This subdivision will help respond to that demand and that need, but there will still be needs beyond what this project will accomplish.
  • Is this public housing, like Section 8? No, this is all private development and there are no federal dollars involved in this project.  Habitat for Humanity is a private, not-for-profit entity.
  • What if non-residents start living in the homes? This project is based solely on the Habitat for Humanity model of creating home ownership. Therefore, all habitat homes are required to be owner occupied.  In this particular case, due to the concerns of the neighborhood that houses will transition to rental units at some point, we are considering including a subdivision covenant that requires owner occupancy for all houses, with the only possible exception being a one-time short term rental (less than 1 year) transition for someone moving to another city.  A Home Owners’ Association (HOA) could be formed to address this issue and other issues that may arise on a case by case basis.  In addition, the City can enforce zoning regulations on occupancy based on complaints received.
  • How long do the original owners live in their homes before they sell? Most live there long enough to pay off their mortgage (25 years); others (approximately 20%) sell at different times for different reasons.
  • What percent of Habitat homes are owned by veterans? We have not tracked such data and so do not have information concerning previous homes. In the future, however, due to the move to universal design specifications for the homes, we will actively recruit and expect to attract veterans with disabilities.
  • Which elementary school will the children who live in the development attend?
  • 40 lots are too many for a Habitat development in this area; 10 lots would be reasonable. We do not believe this subdivision will in any way be too large to be manageable. We believe there is sufficient demand and need in the community to support this size of an effort.
  • The cul-de-sacs should be changed to connect to the dead-end streets to the east to allow traffic to disperse better. This opinion is not widely shared and we believe the development of the cul-de-sac design will facilitate greater safety and more of a neighborhood feel for the residents.
  • Extending Clark Avenue will create a safety hazard, including at the intersection of Marietta and Clark. Habitat recommends that a large shrub at the corner be removed and a short section of no parking be established (at least 1 or 2 vehicles in length) on the east sides of Marietta.  We further recommend to the city that current traffic control and signage at key intersections be reviewed.
  • There should be no parking on Clark Avenue. Habitat recommends to the city that no parking be established on Clark Street south of Drury Lane all the way to Lombardo on the south side of the subdivision.
  • There should be a buffer along the east side of the development. Habitat is exploring ways to achieve a wider and denser green buffer potentially including the planting of evergreen clusters and/or screens to better achieve this objective.
  • How can we be assured that homes built by others match or exceed the quality of homes built by Habitat? The following subdivision covenants are currently being considered as possible deed restrictions:
    1. Minimum house size to be 1,150 square feet, with a basement.
    2. A single vehicle carport with tool shed and additional side parking space to be required.
    3. A minimum wainscoted brick or stone front to be required.
    4. All houses will be built to universal design standards that allow for disability access by all.
    5. Owner occupancy to be required beyond just Habitat homeowners. No rental units could be built and no house could subsequently be rented out except for a one-time short term (less than 1 year) exception.
  • The development of the property will lower property values in the neighborhood. The fear of property values in the area being negatively impacted by this development is acknowledged by Habitat as a serious concern. We believe the subdivision covenants under consideration, along with active, on-going engagement of the new home owners, the larger community, city enforcement, and Habitat for Humanity will assure that the homes in this subdivision do not become unsightly or deteriorate in value.  The homes being built will be very similar in size and construction to a large percentage of the homes in the immediate area.  We recognize that there are some homes immediately adjacent who have higher values currently than the value of these homes.  However, since the homes in this subdivision will be at or above the value of so many other homes already pre-existing, we believe the Habitat subdivision homes will have less negative impact on the value of the currently higher valued homes than already existing houses in the surrounding area.  We believe this will be particularly true if the owner occupancy covenant is applied to the deeds such that multi-family and permanent rental housing would be prohibited in this subdivision. In fact, given the trend toward more house rentals in the area, we believe this subdivision as proposed will help to stabilize home valuations in general.  In addition, we believe the introduction of a trail system into the neighborhood, reserved green space, re-planting of trees, other landscaping after development, and improved storm water management will result in this subdivision enhancing the community in the immediate surrounding area and in the city as a whole.
  • Variance for a cluster subdivision should not be allowed. The purpose of the cluster subdivision and the setback variance proposed here is to allow for the dedication of land reserved as green space, park area, and trails system.  We can go back and revise the preliminary plat without any variances, but this will result in loss of the green space potential that the current plan provides.  This would seem to be counterproductive to the desires of the neighborhood.
    SUBDIVISION OPTIONS

    • Proceed as initially proposed and approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission, subject to City Council approval.
      1. If desired, Habitat is very willing to work with a small focus group representing the neighborhood as we go forward with finalizing many of the details related to the subdivision covenants, buffer areas, storm water, etc.

     

    • If option 1 is not approved by City Council, then go back to P&Z with a new plat that is a standard subdivision with no variances or green space reservation.

     

    • Proceed to develop and build with pre-existing record plat.