City will explore needs for potential housing development

by Marianne Gasaway

Calling housing Clear Lake’s “number one need in the community,” City Administrator Scott Flory presented the City Council with a professional engineering services agreement Monday night for development of sewer and water extension to serve a potential housing development on South 8th Street.

In March, Clear Lakers Jon Snow and Andrew Nicholas approached the Council for assurances the City would participate in costs associated with preparing a site for building.  They are considering development of 25.6 acres located just west of South 8th Street at 15th Avenue South.   The developers propose 54 single family lots and 20-multi-family units, including twin homes and multi-story units.  Two and one- half acres on the southeast corner of the property would be earmarked for a neighborhood commercial business, such as a convenience mart. Jacquelyn Arthur, from the Laird Law Firm, presented the concept for development to the Council. She said Snow and Nicholas have reached a conditional purchase agreement and are conducting due diligence regarding the property’s future. The development would likely feature single family homes with a slab on grade priced at $280,000. Those with basements would reach to about $350,000 depending upon whether the basement was finished or unfinished. 

Language in the professional services agreement unanimously approved with V&K states that in order to develop the property, a new water main needs to be extended to the site.  A sanitary sewer also needs to be extended to facilitate complete development of the parcel.  

Council members discussed the need for the engineering study, even in the event the developer opts to delay, or not pursue the development at this time.  Flory noted work on the services involved in the study would likely occur within five years, so the study will have value no matter how the development proceeds.

“I would say housing is at nothing short of a crisis level in the community,” said Flory.  “In the last Census we decreased 90 people.  I think a lot of that translates back to our housing situation… When we talk about these economic development projects and bringing new businesses and industries to our community, almost the first question is, relative to the Serta building, about housing for the workforce.”

Cost for the preliminary engineering phase is $6,900; design phase work will cost $21,900.

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