ashland.news
July 21, 2024

Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity on track to build at Ashland’s Beach Creek subdivision

Denise James, Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity's executive director, walks through a lot at the Beach Creek subdivision in Ashland in early November 2023. Habitat plans to build two homes in the subdivision and sell them to families earning 80% of the area median income. Rogue Valley Times photo by Jamie Lusch
November 8, 2023

KDA Homes donates two lots for the project after Habitat’s earlier plans to build eight homes at the 52-unit subdivision fell through

By Erick Bengel, Rogue Valley Times

Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit developer of affordable housing, is closer to building two eco-conscious homes at the Beach Creek subdivision in Ashland.

The nonprofit recently received the deeds from KDA Homes, The Oregonian first reported. Habitat has submitted design plans to the city, and Jackson County recorded the deed transfers.

Once Ashland issues building permits, Habitat can start construction on the homes, which will be sold to households earning 80% of the area median income. Habitat will carry the interest-free mortgage for 30 years. A deed restriction requires that the homes can only be resold within that period to lower-income households earning up to 120% AMI.

This will mark the first time in more than 15 years that the nonprofit has built in Ashland, according to Executive Director Denise James.

“We’re eager to get started,” James said.

Like other dwellings in the subdivision, the Habitat homes will be fire-hardened, energy-efficient and built with solar panels, James said.

Sited where North Mountain Avenue meets the Central Bike Path, Beach Creek is a quick walk from downtown. KDA has restored a greenway, installed a bridge over the eponymous creek and partnered with Rogue Valley Transportation District to add a bus stop that fronts on North Mountain.

A post on Beach Creek Ashland’s Facebook page describes the subdivision as “designed to seamlessly connect with the surrounding neighborhoods and city parks, encouraging a sense of continuity and community.”

For the 10-acre development, the city had to annex 7.9 acres. Per city ordinance, this step required KDA to reserve several lots on the annexed portion for affordable housing.

Habitat had originally planned to build eight homes at the 52-unit subdivision.

Development costs have risen considerably in the years since the project was first conceived. Inflation, doubling interest rates, supply chain disruption and workforce issues all took a toll, according to an email exchange between Mark Knox, a land use planner at KDA Homes, and Brandon Goldman, Ashland’s community development director.

Several months ago, KDA asked Habitat for Humanity to help pay for infrastructure with an additional $600,000, or $75,000 per unit.

Habitat, which had selected families for the two units, said it couldn’t afford that amount. The nonprofit was already expecting to spend $50,000 to $60,000 more than usual to design the homes in conformity with the surrounding neighborhood.

KDA decided to donate the lots to the two families.

Laz Ayala, a managing partner at KDA, said, “It’s been a long process and a long wait.” He added: “I am just thrilled for the two families that will be benefitting from this gift.”

Ayala said he hopes affordable housing developers step up to partner with KDA for the six remaining lots set aside for lower-income households.

“It’s an opportunity for six more families,” he said.

Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity is part of the international Habitat for Humanity organization, which brings sturdy affordable housing to individuals and communities and says its principles are based on Christ’s teachings.

James’ team is recruiting volunteers and sponsors to help build the two homes.

The nonprofit has designated one an “all-faith home” — multiple churches and faiths can help fund and build it, she said. The other, she hopes, will be corporate-sponsored.

“Right now, I’m kind of looking for support from the Ashland community,” James said.

Habitat is also building two homes in Rogue River, James said. In Medford, the nonprofit plans to build a cluster of homes on Grandview Avenue with an $875,00 grant from the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department.

The last time Habitat built in Ashland was 2008, James said.

Reach reporter Erick Bengel at ebengel@rv-times.com or 458-488-2031. This story first appeared in the Rogue Valley Times.

Picture of Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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