Affordable Housing Project On The Move

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It's all systems go for a planned 91-lot affordable housing project in Star Valley, where the developers are "shooting for prices under $90,000," according to the real estate broker in charge of sales.

The Gila County Planning and Zoning Commission has approved plats for the Houston Creek Landing subdivision half a mile south of Highway 260 on Moonlight Drive. That approval has paved the way to a tentative spring ground breaking for the 21.4-acre manufactured home development, County Planning and Zoning Director Terry Smith said.

Coldwell Banker's Ray Pugel, the project's real estate broker, said the exact price of the homes cannot yet be determined because "all of (developer) Steve Iverson's costs aren't in yet ... but it will be an excellent opportunity for young families and first-time homebuyers. I haven't seen anything in this price range, for what we're shooting for, in Payson in the last five years."

The price, Pugel said, will include the house and land, plus "we're shooting for fenced yards, a community area for the kids, driveways, a landscape package. It will be a total move-in package, so the homebuyer won't have to spend any money out of pocket for all the extras. They should be pretty much set once they get in there."

"My best guesstimate on that is that once Iverson obtains state real estate department approval, which he could not do until he had a recorded plat, he can get his public report and start selling," said Smith. "I would anticipate ground breaking this spring. I don't see it happening any earlier. There will have to be a lot of trenching done, as well as some roadwork on Moonlight Drive."

The need for that roadwork, Smith said, is the primary reason other projects aimed at the site failed to materialize in the past.

"There's a potentially bad bottleneck problem at that intersection, and no other developer could figure out how to fix it. That was always a big issue with all of the proposals for that piece of property which ranged from 208 condominiums to 165 townhouses. Mr. Iverson's proposal reduces that number to 91 and he's providing a donation to the county to aid in fixing the bottleneck. I'm real happy with the development myself."

Iverson did not return telephone calls by press time.

The lots on the still-undeveloped site will range in size from 3,545 square feet to 9,225 square feet, thanks to a planning and zoning provision known as a Planned Area Development (PAD) which Smith described as "an overlay zoning district that allows trade-offs to a certain degree. Instead of a minimum of 6,000 square feet for a lot, for example, (Iverson) requested that some of them go down to 3,545 square feet.

"The other part of (the provision) is that we say, 'OK, we'll consider your request and review it accordingly, but you have to provide a certain amount of open space and amenities to your residents. (Iverson) agreed to do that."

Details of that trade-off have yet to be determined, Smith said.

Nearly a year ago, the price range of the homes in Iverson's development was set at $75,000 to $95,000. Smith did not know if those numbers have changed, but said, "Even if it's $10,000 less than the going rate for homes comparable to this, that's obviously a very good thing."

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