Durbin Town Council considers Habitat for Humanity request
Minor issues are complicating a proposed site for a Habitat for Humanity build, the agency's director told Durbin Town Council last Tuesday night.
John Connor, director of development for Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity, asked council members for a variance to a town building ordinance which would allow the project to move forward.
"We have an opportunity to purchase a double lot," said Connor. "Lots 11 and 12 on block 18. There are a few issues with the lot. We would come to seek for a variance to the building regulations. Item #3 on this particular copy of trailer and building regulations, from what I understand are on the books here, reads 'a minimum of a fifteen foot distance is required between the trailer or building and the building or trailer of another resident.'"
Connor explained to council members that a hill in the back corner of the lot would
render a portion of the lot useless for building purposes. Connor said sanitary and wastewater lines that run through a portion of the double lot also limit the available building space for the two homes. Despite the negative aspects of the lot, Connor said the site would still work if council members allowed the two homes to be built closer together than the regulation states.
"We have reason to believe that we can build, and still successfully construct, two homes that we propose to build," said Connor. "However, for it to fit, for it to work, for the footprint of these homes to work out, we would want to go into the project with a variance allowing us to position those two houses closer than the fifteen foot minimum. I'm certain the ordinance was put up with good reason. I guess we just come humbly seeking the council's permission to grant a variance."
The request was met with concern by some council members, but they agreed to look into the matter once they had a chance to research deed information at the courthouse. Connor said if council members agreed to the variance, construction could begin this year.
"We could possibly even start building this calendar year, or we could hit the ground running in 2013 with groups in the spring and through the summer," said Connor. "I don't mean to put undue pressure on the council or the town, but it's the first seemingly viable offer. We've looked at several lots in the community and talked to some of the lot owners, but this particular double lot is the first one that has kind of panned out as far as someone being willing to sell, at a price we can justify."
Mayor Donald Peck updated council members about progress with plans for the upcoming Durbin Days festival. Peck said fireworks have been ordered, most of the vendors have been contacted and most of the music schedule has been set. Karaoke is planned for Wednesday night, Thursday is still open, Friday the D.C. Riggs Band is scheduled and Saturday will feature The Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys.
Peck proposed the idea of mailing a letter to residents that need to clean up or maintain their property.
Council member Mike Vance opposed the idea "of sticking their nose into other peoples business." Council members agreed to table the issue.
"I don't like to stir a hornet's nest where it's not deserved," said Vance. "If people have a complaint in this town, they should come to us and say 'hey.'"
Peck discussed the possibility of graveling the road in town at the railroad crossing by the kiosk. Vance suggested approaching the state for assistance before seeking a contractor.
"The state is supposed to maintain the roads. Let's talk to the state and if that doesn't work out, then we'll get a couple estimates," said Vance.