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Colfax approves hiring Cedar Corp. for $12,000 to plan TID No. 4 residential development

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX —  The Colfax Village Board has approved hiring Cedar Corporation for a fee not to exceed $11,975 to plan a residential development within the village’s Tax Increment District No. 4.

The village board approved the agreement with Cedar Corporation following a closed session August 11.

According to the document approved by the Colfax Village Board that is dated August 5, Cedar Corporation will prepare a residential development map that includes phases for the development along with a detailed construction estimate for the first three phases of the project.

In addition, Cedar Corporation will coordinate with the village’s financial consultants, Ehlers and Associates, to determine ways to finance the project and options for purchasing land.

TID No. 3 in the village is a blighted district that includes the downtown area, a section on Railroad Avenue and a portion of the south side of the village.

TID No. 4 covers other portions of the village.

The agreement with Cedar Corporation for TID No. 4 also includes a topographic survey that shows existing utilities and sets the exterior boundary and lot corners as well as a preliminary and final plat that will be submitted for state approval.

Before the Village of Colfax could get into the business of selling lots for residential development, the village’s R-1 single family residential district large lot code would have to be revised to change the minimum lot size requirements.

The contract with Cedar Corporation includes assisting with revising the ordinance and holding a public hearing on the proposed revision.

Property purchased by the village for residential development would have to be rezoned, too, and the Cedar Corporation contract also includes assisting with the rezone and the necessary public hearing.

Last, but certainly not least, the contract with Cedar Corporation includes the preparation of a marketing plan to guide the village in selling the residential lots.

The marketing plan will include outreach to banks, real estate agents and potential homeowners and will include guidelines for incentives to purchase a lot and guidelines for construction.

The cost to the village for any associated meetings, published notices and the state’s fee to review plat maps would be in addition to the $11,975.

After the initial phase of the residential development is completed, Cedar Corporation will submit another proposal to the village for designing and constructing infrastructure, such as streets.

The Colfax Village Board currently is in negotiations to purchase a piece of property for the TID No. 4 residential development.

The topic of housing and residential development first came up before the Colfax Plan Commission about a year ago.

According to statistics included in the proposed updated version of the housing chapter of the village’s Smart Growth comprehensive plan, from 2000 to 2011, only 11 houses were built in the village.

During the 1990s, 32 houses were built. In the 1980s, there were 29 houses built. The 1970s included 66 new houses. The 1960s included 72 houses. The 1950s included 80 houses. During the 1940s, 36 houses were built in Colfax. Before 1939, 156 houses were built.

During the August 2013 meeting, plan commission members noted that there are no residential lots available in Colfax for building new houses and that the majority of the residential development over the last 20 years has occurred in the townships surrounding Colfax.