Entry Level Housing Update

Culver Citizen - Culver Chooses Site for Entry Level Housing DeJeff Kenny did a nice job on the coverage of the Entry Level Housing discussion at the Town Council.  I’ve included the scans of the article here if you want to read it.  (I only included the portion discussing Entry Level Housing.)  I think you can blow up the scans on the right so they are legible.

I’m pleased that things are moving forward, but frustrated that they have moved as slowly as they have up to this point.  All of the sudden we’re in a crunch to get things done since the grant deadline is November 2nd.  Because the decision finally came down to putting the development on my property, I’ve been thrust into the position of getting the variances, abatements, etc. in my name.  Most of this is going to require special meetings due to the timing.  Not a big deal, but it’s all about time…

Culver Citizen - Culver Chooses Site for Entry Level Housing 2Jeff also did a side bar article on the property and my history with it.  It was cut up a bit as it appeared in the paper, so I’ve included the text here instead of doing scans. That also let me put links into some of the things he mentions in case you want to follow up.  The side bar article follows:

While several assorted factors will need to converge properly to see it come to fruition, Culver’s town council last week voted towards developing much-discussed entry-level housing in the Culver area, specifically on property owned on West Jefferson Street by Kevin Berger (who happens to own and operate Easterday Construction on land adjacent to part of the site).

While the move may a new one for the town, Berger has been writing about the possibility of the land as a partial answer to Culver’s housing challenges as far back as 2008, on his blog at easterdayconstruction.com/blog (look for “Sand Hill Farm,” the working name he gave the potential project at the time).

The property, he told the Citizen is made up of approximately 25 acres on the east side of S.R. 17 behind the properties fronting on Jefferson Street from the Boetsma property down to a little east of the Culcom/`Puter Pit Stop building.

Berger spent many hours playing on the property as a child (and he’s not alone in so doing), his family having moved to a nearby spot on Washington Street when he was in 4th grade.

“The property was owned by my father’s Aunt and Uncle, Katy and Everett Easterday,” says Berger. “My understanding is that it was passed down from Katy’s family as part of the Easterday farm directly across S.R. 17 to the west. The other 15 (or so) acres that runs on up to Academy Road behind the ball diamonds belongs to my parents. It is part of Russell Easterday’s farm that included the farmland north of 10 and 17 north of the high school and at one time included the property that the high school sits on. Russell was my great grandfather and the founder of Easterday Construction.”

When Katy Easterday passed away, most of the property was auction off and Berger purchased that on the east side of SR 17 in 2005.

“My thoughts on the two properties (have) always been to tie them together with the majority of the 25 acres being used for commercial/industrial development with the upper 15 acres being developed as mixed use residential. The mix of use could vary depending on the demand.”

Housing concerns in Culver have long been on Berger’s mind, and he has posited his belief that the spike in housing costs in Culver are the result of, among other factors, the addition of boat slip rentals at the town park, making the town itself viable for the first time as a more affordable form of lake property ownership, even if less direct than houses situated immediately on the shore.

And while a number of ideas and theories have circulated as to addressing the challenges facing Culver’s workforce in a community whose homes are increasingly becoming second — or vacation getaway — homes, Berger’s sense of direction on the matter was honed last fall at an affordable housing conference he attended in Chicago on behalf of the town (he details that experience in a blog post as well).

“I learned quite a bit about the affordable housing programs that are financed through tax credits,” he recalls. “It was through this conference that I brought back ideas for affordable housing to the town council and from that start the Entry Level Housing Committee was formed. While we are planning to use the affordable housing program, we decided to discuss it as’ Entry Level Housing’ for a couple of reasons: ‘Affordable Housing’ has a bad connotation and is often mistakenly associated with the old Section 8 Housing (as occurred at the most recent town council meeting); and second, ‘Entry Level Housing’ was a better description of what our goals were.

“From the beginning, the committee targeted the new employees slated to be added to the Elkay staff (in Culver) and new teachers both at the community school and the Culver Academies. I was able to gather several contacts from those I met at the Affordable Housing Conference. Interestingly though, the final developer that we are working with came through a contact that Jonathan Leist made.”

“I think the moves that are being made will open the property up for other development that will eventually be good for the town,” he adds.

Source:  Culver Citizen, October 1, 2015

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