400 more homes planned

City of Hobbs OKs paying developer incentives at Zia Crossing

Reposted from the Hobbs News Sun.
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NEWS-SUN PHOTO A JAB Stucco Co. employee from Roswell works on a new house from ABS Homes in the Zia Crossings subdivision.

A Hobbs land developer told city officials Monday night his company plans to develop another 400 homes on the city’s northwest side as homebuilding continues to surge in the Zia Crossing subdivision.

The Hobbs City Commission on Monday night approved paying $56,000 of housing incentives to Black Gold Estates for infrastructure work related to homes currently under construction in the subdivision near Zia Park Casino, Hotel & Racetrack.

The development agreement with Black Gold Estates unanimously approved by the City Commission will reimburse Black Gold Estates up to $56,000 for the installation of municipal infrastructure adjacent to the front property lines of new homes, such as water and sewer lines, streets and sidewalks.

The publicly funded subsidies are intended to encourage new housing growth in the city.

“We continue to have the demand,” Mayor Sam Cobb said Tuesday. “We need 150 (new homes) a year just to stay with our demonstrated population growth.”

In order to receive the housing incentives, the market rate, single-family homes must be completed within 180 days of the execution of the agreement. They must be of an energy-efficient design, utilizing either stucco or brick for exteriors, and may not be rented or leased for less than 30 days at a time for 10 years after the execution of the agreement.

Dan Dattola, one of the principals of Black Gold Estates, a land developer, said 280 homes are either under contract or ready to be built in the Zia Crossing subdivision. He said there are plans to more than double the current size of the subdivision.

“When we finish phase 1, we’ll have approximately 300 (homes) and then we’ll start phase 2,” Dattola said.

Dattola told the News-Sun after Monday night’s meeting that Black Gold Estates has acquired 400 more lots in the Zia Crossing subdivision.

“We hope to build that many,” Dattola said. “So we’re just going to keep building as long as there’s a need. We’re building about five to six a month. So, we’re happy with that.”

Dattola said the next phase of homebuilding in the subdivision will probably start within 60 days.

“We hope to get it done in five years,” he said. “We’re doing a unit at a time, which is 64 to 66 (days) per unit.”

Dattola said the city’s housing incentives have been a big factor in the subdivision’s rapid development into a small neighborhood.

“I’ll tell you this incentive program has been essential for our success, so I want to thank the commission that had the foresight to see that this was necessary to create housing in Hobbs,” Dattola told city leaders.

“Thank you for helping meet our housing needs,” replied City Commissioner Dwayne Penick.

Dattola later explained that developers need to build roads and want to put in amenities such as sidewalks to enhance the subdivision.

“We’re doing that because we think it makes a better subdivision to put sidewalks in, rather than say: ‘You build it when you build your house and put your sidewalk in front,’” he said. “Then, you’ve got lots where there’s jumps and so on, we don’t want that. We’re putting the sidewalks in.

“We put in all the water, electric, sewer lines, roads, sidewalks, street lights. We would have never done the project if we wouldn’t have had the incentives.”

The city commission in August revised its housing incentive program, while dropping proposed requirements that would have made developers use local vendors to receive the incentives.

The incentive program in its current form caps development agreement incentives at $100,000 for at least three new, single-family homes, and $250,000 for multi-family development agreements.

Proposed language that would have required all developers to use local vendors was stripped out by the city commission after city commissioners expressed concerns the requirements could drive up home and rental prices. The city’s past development agreements have had no requirements to use local vendors or buy locally.

The city has appropriated more than $5 million in single-family housing development agreements since June 2012, resulting in 320 new single-family homes in the city. The city has also awarded about $4 million of housing incentives to multi-family housing developers since February 2012, adding about 1,000 apartment units.

Jeff Tucker may be reached at managingeditor@hobbsnews.com.