Wednesday Apr 01 2009
Creekside Village looking for buyers
By: Brandon Darnell, News Messenger Reporter
An affordable housing community scheduled for groundbreaking in October at the intersection of First Street and Joiner Pkwy is getting under way, as the first open session for buyers approaches. That meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 13 at City Hall, according to Steve Art, economic and redevelopment manager for the city of Lincoln. “We’d like to get the word out to the Lincoln community first and offer these homes to Lincoln residents and then the outlying communities thereafter,” Art said. The homes, which will be part of the Creekside Village development and range in size from 1202 to 1361 square feet, will be on the corner of First Street and Joiner Parkway and will be built by their future owners in cooperation with Mercy Housing of California. Mercy Housing is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building communities, according to its Web site at www.mercyhousin.org. The process involves buyers whose income is below the average, working 35 hours per week on top of their normal jobs to build the homes. The average income for a family of four in Placer County is $61,000 per year, according to the California Department of Housing and Community Development “It allows the people, who would normally rent, to own homes and have the ‘American dream,’” Art said. Another benefit to owners building the homes, according to Art, is that those who build their own homes traditionally don’t sell them as often, and that will help build a community. The homes consist of three floor plans, which are craftsman, cottage and Victorian styles. “We really think this is going to be the model for affordable housing,” Art said, stressing that the project is not subsidized or low-income housing. Lincoln City Council approved the project at its Oct. 28 meeting. At that meeting, one resident raised a concern about heightened levels of crime but Police Chief Brian Vizzusi said similar projects in Rocklin, where he used to work, did not have any abnormal levels of crime. The project was approved by the City Council in a 4-1 vote, with then-Councilman Spencer Short being the only one to vote against it. The reason Short said he voted against the project was due to the land – which was sold to Mercy Housing of California – being worth less than it had been the previous year, before the current economic crisis. “Timing-wise, I think it’s a good thing,” said Councilman Tom Cosgrove on Monday. “Their (owners’) down payment is their time invested in building their own house.” Cosgrove added that the down payment is hard to come up with in the current economy and that “sweat equity” will be a way to get residents into homes. “That would be really cool,” said Lincoln resident Marissa Garcia, who currently rents a room with her husband and son on I Street. “I’ve never heard of anything like that. It allows people to get their own homes without a down payment.” Kristy West, who lives in an apartment complex on First Street and Joiner Parkway, echoed Garcia’s sentiments. “That would be pretty cool for low-income people to be able to afford it,” West said. “I’d be down for that.” West said she had to give a deposit to rent her apartment, and that being able to get into a home by working instead of a down payment is something that interests her. Not everyone thinks the project is a good idea, however. Twenty-year Lincoln resident Barbara Webster said she moved to the city when its population was 7,500, and wants to keep the small-town atmosphere. Webster lives near Third Street and Joiner Parkway, near the proposed building site, and said the city will just “do whatever it wants to.” The project, which will be built in lots of 10 homes, Art said, will eventually be composed of 23 single-family homes. “These are first-year teachers, first-year police officers and other young professionals in the community who will be living here,” Art said. Brandon Darnell can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.