Lower cost housing addition nears start
The Fredericksburg City Council on Monday approved and adopted an annexation agreement and zoning ordinances for land that will become “The Beginning” subdivision during Monday’s city council meeting.
The 11.7-acre subdivision will create 52 single-family, owner-occupied housing units on Smokehouse Road.
The developers of the subdivision, BarTrei Properties, LLC, say the targeted sales price of the homes will not exceed $260,000.
The target price is not guaranteed because developers will sell lots to other builders and cannot control the builder’s pricing. Some homes could be built in the subdivision that cost more.
Several local companies will be participating in the project by providing services at a reduced fee to help keep the housing units affordable and attainable.
The annexation agreement included that the city would be responsible for extending utility services to the area. Cost estimates put the city commitment at $162,000 or $3,115 per lot.
“We [the city] would be responsible for the off-site infrastructure and the developers would be responsible for all on-site infrastructure, including the utility lines and street improvements,” City Manager Kent Myers said.
In an attempt to keep the homes affordable, developers had requested the city waive park impact fees for the subdivision.
The developers suggested creating a small park or walking trail system in the area that could result in the waiver of the park impact fees. However, impact fees are not able to be waived per the current city ordinance.
The annexation agreement in the meeting agenda packet stated lots could be exempted from payment of impact fees pursuant to a city ordinance in effect at the time of required payment.
Mo Saiidi addressed the council during public comments regarding the language for the impact fees in the annexation agreement for “The Beginning” subdivision.
“The word ‘exempt’ prevents and removes the possibility of the city of wanting to do a discount or consider a discount than rather doing the waiver completely,” Saiidi said. “The impact fee, as you know, is between the city and the homeowner, who is not a party to this agreement. So, I am not sure what’s the relevance of having a statement in there that affects the third party. It all seems like we are marching toward waiving the impact fee and we haven’t really considered reductions or the fees or anything like that or how we are going to implement this.”
Saiidi asked if the city did this now, how would it prevent granting a waiver for others who build a house for $250,000 or $300,000.
“It opens up a whole bunch of other stuff here and I submit to you that per Mr. Myers’ letter, the city cost for that is $162,000 for bringing the utilities which divides into $3,115 per lot. Impact fees are $4,000 and that leaves a difference of $885,” Saiidi said. “The city could, in their good heart, yield that as a discount per lot and still have enough revenue to cover that additional cost that we are paying out of the taxpayers’ fund. It would be a win-win for both sides.”
City Attorney Daniel Jones said that statement would be removed from the annexation agreement.
City Councilman Charlie Kiehne questioned the developers about the park and land dedication.
“The way that the annexation agreement is written right now, that is not an option. It was to pay the $500 per lot. We could give land to the city and we are still willing to,” said Mimi Bartel, subdivision developer.
Brian Jordan, director of development services, shared that the city usually accepts money instead of the land depending on how much land is being dedicated. A city ordinance has a minimum amount of land that can be accepted.
If the city doesn’t accept a land dedication, impact fees would total $26,000 to the city’s park fund.
The council did not decide whether they will accept a land donation, but will continue to review options, to possibly include an ordinance that could waive or reduce impact fees.
“We are so happy with all that has happened. We have to wait until Sept. 11 for the official annexation to occur because there is a 90-day wait period in the state of Texas,” Bartel said. “We have been working on this since January.”
Construction of the development will begin soon and the developers have already begun to reserve lots.
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