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Stockdale wrestles with Eagle Ford housing needs, financial issues
Wilson County NewsJune 13, 2012 | 2,403 views | 1 comment
STOCKDALE -- As the exploration of the Eagle Ford shale in South Texas continues, community leaders are scrambling to address the challenges each town faces. Increases in traffic flow and revenue from retail sales are being reported, but the lack of housing also has been noted. In the past few months, Stockdale has been facing its own challenges. The city has gained All Tucked Inn, approved permits for additional recreational-vehicle parks, and is awaiting the opening of the Stockdale Inn and Suites. While temporary housing helps, permanent housing is in great demand all across the area.
Sal Urrabazo Jr., owner of Sal’s Construction Co. Inc., addressed the Stockdale City Council members June 5, asking for a subdivision variance for development on his property on Lorenz Street, in the northeastern part of the city. The project could include as many as 15 homes, ranging in price from $150,000 to $200,000.
Urrabazo is facing difficulties with financing. Appraisers using the market approach use recent house sales similar in use to the subject property. Subject property is defined as “the property for which a borrower is attempting to secure financing or refinancing. ... The property type of the subject property typically determines the financing options available,” according to Mortgagecatch22.com.
In Stockdale’s case, few homes in the range of $150,000 and more have been built in the last few years. Higher-end homes in Stockdale are appraised at $80 to $85 per square foot, due to their age, compared to similar properties in La Vernia, appraised at $110 to $115, Urrabazo said. This means the bank or lender is asking 30 to 35 percent down, not the typical 20 percent required of developers. This has hampered his progress in developing the property.
Also scrutinized by the council during its discussion was the construction of a paved road in the subdivision.
Mayor Johnny Stahl summarized that Urrabazo sought a variance on the platting and the council could stipulate that he construct a gravel-base street. After a certain number of homes are built, then Urrabazo would be responsible for paving the road, in compliance with subdivision regulations.
The request for a subdivision plat is cost-prohibitive at this time, City Manager Banks Akin said.
Also considered as a special circumstance or provision was the extension of water and sewage lines into the subdivision. Akin estimated the cost of material at $12,000, and said the city could assist with the labor involved.
Akin suggested the council should assist with this project, since approximately $4 million of ad valorem property could be added to the city’s tax base.
The council approved for Akin to seek the professional services of engineers for this project and to continue to work with Urrabazo for the necessary documentation to make the project acceptable.
The council also addressed financial issues, including a financial audit, and discussed a potential increase in the city’s sales-tax rate. For more, see page 5A. http://www.wilsoncountynews.com/article.php?id=43759
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