[ Reply | Next | Previous | Up ]
From: Mac McIntyre
Category: General Discussion
Date: 22 Oct 2002
Time: 22:21:12 -0400
Remote Name: 220.127.116.11
Since I have already visited the Savannah Green project in Normal and October 12th is also my daughter's birthday I will decline your invitation for the bus tour. Thanks for inviting me.
It appears that a "string" of comments regarding the proposed Savannah Green in DeKalb is being created by using the "Reply All" feature of our emailing programs. This prompted me to examine the list of recipients - the inclusion of the various local governmental units and news media resources - and I commend your decision to create the opportunity for those who will decide whether the project is approved in DeKalb or not.
I understand why Mr. Suhadolnik is concerned with public perceptions of quality construction. Sources were quoted in the local media that accused Suhadolnik of "shoddy construction." Any builder/developer would be concerned with that and perhaps one who offers "attainable" housing would have cause for even more concern.
I would encourage even those plan commission and city council members who have already decided against the DeKalb project to visit the Normal development of more than 350 homes. I believe the tour will provide an affirmative answer to the second of the most important two-part question that needs to be asked: Does DeKalb need this development, and if so, does Suhadolnik have the ability to produce attainable housing with a high level of quality.
I believe DeKalb needs this project. I define DeKalb as the people who live here now -- and most of us who do -- have a total household income of less than $45,000. We're stretching it to buy the median priced existing home in DeKalb at $134,000. Suhadolnik has stated that the average price of one of his newly built homes will be $137,000. Right now in DeKalb, the average new construction home is selling for $203,000. It would be nice for the people who live in DeKalb now to have the choice between buying a newly constructed or an existing home. A new home is cheaper to maintain.
There are a variety of people in DeKalb's median income bracket. Some of us are empty nesters or retirees who could benefit from maintaining or downsizing our housing costs and some are young couples or single parents with school children. I see great benefits to having such a mix of current DeKalb residents live a little closer to NIU. It might help soften the "town and gown" division that sometimes exist as well as provide a few more summer consumers for DeKalb's west side businesses.
Suhadolnik's optimistic plan is to build 860 homes in five years or so from digging the first basement. This would help to balance the housing market in DeKalb and would slow the rate that DeKalb's EAV is raising. A rising EAV does mean an increase in return on investment for those who sell their homes. It also means more revenue for taxing bodies. But for those who want to live in their homes it increases their housing costs, in taxes. It is important to note that as DeKalb's EAV rises its support from the State for education decreases.
If Savannah Green's 860 homes are sold the DeKalb School District will receive about $1.5 million in school impact fees. They will also receive, at the current rate of 5.27% of an average EAV of $45,000 per home, a total of about $2.1 million each year in tax revenues (plus tax revenues from the commercial development). These fees and taxes will be paid by existing or new residents of DeKalb who purchase a home at Savannah Green. I believe it to be a serious error to contend with the notion that every single home built at Savannah Green will produced NEW school aged children.
In addition the City of DeKalb will receive, as a result of Suhadolnik's agreement to pay $800 per home in road impact fees, about $688,000 for a road extension that is on the books as planned and needed regardless of whether or not the Savannah Green project is approved. The community of DeKalb will receive a community center and zero-depth entry swimming pool at no cost. Local building supply stores, furniture stores, subcontractors, vendors, etc. would benefit from sales generated by the construction (not to mention sales tax revenues). Our workforce would benefit from the jobs created.
There are pros to growth. There are cons to growth. And there is fear of growth. I hope those who are involved in the planning of DeKalb's future do not let this fear unduly influence their decisions -- that could drive many of the people who live here now, many for generations, from affording to live their lives here.
CEO of eWorldLinx, Inc.
Publisher of DeKalb County Online
Executive Officer of DeKalb County Building and Development Association