Those looking to build a house in Forest City may be one step closer thanks to a $1 Housing Buyout Program adopted by the city council.
The Forest City City Council adopted the Housing Buyout Program during its meeting held on Monday, May 20.
The program sells lots for $1 to construct a stick-built home at a minimum cost of $100,000 on these lots.
The council determined the reason for the program is because it is necessary to provide vacant lots for future development in furtherance of the City’s economic development objectives.
In the resolution lists some specific rules for future developers. They include:
• Contractors are not allowed to purchase the lot for resale.
• Construction must begin six months after gaining ownership of the lot.
• If construction has not started after six months, the City will reclaim the lot.
• Trailer homes will not be allowed on the property.
• Prefabrication or modular homes are allowed on the property.
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• A minimum of $100,000 must be spent on constructing the new home.
• The home must be built by a licensed and bonded contractor or builder.
Further guidelines include the construction must be completed after 18 months of ownership, the landowner must live in the built house and a $750 water hook-up charge and a $50 sewer hook-up charge must be paid before the application can be approved.
Currently, the lots at 409 Secor Ave. (lot area of 0.2 acres) and 246 North Eighth St. (lot area of 0.27 acres) are the only empty lots in the program.
“This is the, almost to the T, the program that Northwood uses, and it’s been very successful for them,” city administrator Barb Smith said.
Smith said if the program is successful in Forest City, she would like to have the City acquire more lots in the future.
“But let’s get the program rolling first with what we’ve got,” she said.
An alternative option to the program was setting the lots up with Habitat for Humanity, but they require a qualified family who will live in the home, and the City has been having a hard time finding one for Habitat for Humanity.
“[Habitat for Humanity] has been advertising in Forest City and Garner,” Beth Bilyeu, executive director of Forest City Economic Development, said.
Smith also said Rural Housing 360 will be coming during the June 3 meeting to talk about more ways the City can boost its housing options.