First houses in attainable development approved

Gray Hughes

The first houses in Hill City’s attainable housing development have been approved.

The approval came at Monday night’s Hill City Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.

“It’s a banner day for Hill City,” said Rollie Noem, a member of the commission, once the last house was approved.

In total, five houses in the development were approved.

Three of the homes will be nearly identical with three bedrooms and two baths and will be single story with an attached garage. One of the other homes will be a two bedroom, one bath home with a basement that will have space for more bedrooms and a family room. The final house approved will be three bedrooms and one bath.

Mark Veley, who is building the homes, said more homes would be coming to the commission soon for its approval.

He said he is starting with six homes with an additional tiny home.

Dani Schade, development service coordinator for Hill City, asked Veley if these were spec homes.

“Four of the five (houses to be approved at Monday’s meeting) are already sold,” Veley said.

Dale Householder, the Hill City Common Council liaison to the commission, wanted to know the timeframe for construction.

Veley said he hopes to have these homes done in three to four months. Work is progressing quickly in the attainable housing development, he added, with much of the necessary infrastructure already in place.

“We’re planning on getting all the other homes done this year, too,” Veley said.

The tiny home would be a first for Veley. He said he is not quite sure how it will work, and there will be some “learning on the fly.”

Ensuring the house will be cost efficient, too, will be a priority for Veley.

The homes will be closer to the roadway and will feature shorter driveways to ensure the cost is low.

Because more materials go into a longer driveway, a house farther from the curb featuring a long driveway would increase the cost of the homes, and, since these homes are a part of the attainable housing development, the goal is to keep the cost low, Veley said.

However, if a person wanted a longer driveway and a house farther from the curb Veley could do that, but most of these houses have already sold and this is what the buyer wanted, Veley said.

All five houses came up as separate votes, and all five houses were approved unanimously by the commission.

At Monday’s meeting, too, the commission debated sending a suggestion to the Hill City Common Council regarding the sign ordinance.

Schade wanted to know if there was interest from the commission about allowing a six-month temporary sign permit. The sign ordinance sent from the commission to the council in July has a provision for a 12 month sign permit; however, there was some talk from the council when it passed the first reading of the proposed sign ordinance of a shorter sign permit.

The 12 month sign permit, Schade said, was put in the sign ordinance revision to entice businesses to stay open longer.

“We wouldn’t have to establish the cost (tonight),” Schade said.

The recommendation, too, would not have to be adopted by the council if it was to be sent to it. It would merely be a suggestion from the planning and zoning commission that could be adopted during the second reading of the sign ordinance.

Connie Wolters, a member of the planning and zoning commission, said she wants to leave the revision as-is and not send the proposal to the council.

“The 12 month permit is for businesses that are open year-round or stay open longer during the shoulder season,” she said.

If the commission does not approve the six month proposal, the only temporary sign permit the city could grant once the sign ordinance revision is approved would be for the 12 month period, Schade said.

Ron Walker, planning and zoning commission member, said the reason the commission went with a 12-month proposal was to entice businesses to stay open longer or possibly year-round.

When it came time to decide, the entire council said the proposal should not be sent to council, and the only temporary sign permit should be 12 months.

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