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Colfax giving away free residential lots in East View

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX  —  The Village of Colfax is giving away six free lots in the East View residential development on Dunn Street.

The Colfax Village Board approved the sales sheet, developer’s agreement and application form for East View at the June 22 meeting upon the recommendation of the Colfax Plan Commission.

The plan commission met prior to the village board to review the documents.

The lots have an assessed value of $15,000, said Scott Gunnufson, village president and chair of the plan commission.

The residential lots will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis, he said.

Cedar Corporation out of Menomonie drew up the concept for the residential development and also calculated the village’s return on the development, Gunnufson said.

Based on the numbers provided by Cedar Corporation, the village can give away the first six lots, and the project will still end up paying for itself, he said.

The six lots are all zoned Residential-1 and are between 14,400 square feet and 16,000 square feet and are 90 feet wide and a 160 feet deep.

Setback requirements are 25 feet the front and back lot lines and ten feet from the side yard lot lines.

The developer’s agreement with the village requires that the finished homes, including the lot, have an assessed value of $175,000, Gunnufson said.

Gary Stene, plan commission member, asked how much in property taxes would be generated by a $175,000 home.

Each $175,000 house built in East View will generate about $4,500 in property taxes, said Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer.

Based on $4,500 in annual property taxes, six finished houses in the development would generate around $27,000 each year in property taxes.

According to the developer’s agreement, if a house is built that does meet the minimum required equalized assessed value of $175,000, the developer will be required to pay the difference in property taxes between the lower value and the $175,000 required value for ten years.

The East View development is in a Tax Increment Finance district (TIF), Niggemann said.

TID No. 4 was created in 2006 and will close out in 2026.

Since the housing development is in TID No. 4, the village will get the money back when the TID closes out, Stene noted.

The issue slow population growth in the village over the last 50 years came up during the plan commission’s discussions on the update of the Smart Growth Comprehensive Plan.

One of the contributing factors to slow population growth in Colfax has been the lack of available residential lots.

Retainer

People who are interested in building homes on the lots will be required to pay a $2,500 retainer up front. The fee will be returned when the house is finished and the village issues a Certificate of Occupancy.

After the homeowner or homebuilder signs the developer’s agreement with the village, the house must be completed within 12 months, Gunnufson said.

The first six lots will be the first phase of the East View development located along Dunn Street.

Lots 5 and 6 are ready to go right now, Gunnufson said, adding that Lot 3 will only require extending the sewer line.

According to the village’s attorney, Ken Schofield, the village can deed the property over to the homeowner or homebuilder as soon as the retainer is paid, and when the property has been deeded over, then the homeowner or homebuilder will be in a position to borrow the money to build the house.

Jason Johnson, plan commission member, wondered if a person who has signed a developer’s agreement would have the ability to sell the house to someone else when it is partially finished.

The developer’s agreement would be between the individual and the village for a particular lot, and the person who signed the developer’s agreement would have to come to the village. Selling a partially finished house to another individual would be a violation of the developer’s agreement, Niggemann said.

Driveways

Several plan commission members noted that the developer’s agreement did not include a clause about finished driveways.

Mike Buchner, plan commission member, wondered whether the agreement should stipulate either a concrete or an asphalt driveway.

The intent, Buchner said, would be to not have dirt or gravel driveways in the subdivision.

A finished driveway could be concrete, asphalt, or even pavers of some kind, Gunnufson said.

The Colfax Plan Commission unanimously approved a motion to amend the developer’s agreement to include finished driveways as a requirement for East View.

In addition to Gunnufson, Stene, Johnson and Buchner, Dave Hovre, Dave Wolff, and Nancy Hainstock serve on the plan commission.

Hainstock was out of town and unable to attend the June 22 meeting.

5 & 6

Gunnufson reported to the plan commission that two developers had already expressed interest in building houses on Lots 5 and 6.

The developers, Pat Varpness (Lot 5) and Andy DeMoe (Lot 6), have agreed to turn in applications for the lots by July 17, he said.

Both said they plan to break ground this fall and to work on building the houses as winter projects, Gunnufson said.

If, for some reason, applications are not returned by July 17, then Lots 5 and 6 can be opened up to any other interested parties along with all of the other remaining lots, he said.

No non-renewables

The developer’s agreement also includes a clause requiring materials for the exterior of the houses to be brick, natural stone, wood clapboard, wood shingle, fiber cement siding or engineering wood siding.

Vinyl siding, imitation brick or metal siding is prohibited by the developer’s agreement.

“We are staying away from non-renewable materials,” Gunnufson said.

Trees

The developer’s agreement requires the developer to plant and establish a lawn using grass seed or sod.

A minimum of four trees must also be planted, of a species recommended by the Village of Colfax, and a minimum of 1.5 inches in diameter.

Mark Halpin, village trustee, wondered about the timetable for planting trees.

Houses can be finished at any time of the year, and certain times are better for transplanting trees, so the developer’s agreement does not include a timetable, Gunnufson said.

Annie Schieber, village trustee, wondered about inspections of the houses while they are being built.

Fred Weber, the village’s Uniform Dwelling Code inspector, will inspect the houses at appropriate times for the UDC, Niggemann said.

On the recommendation of the Colfax Plan Commission, the Colfax Village Board unanimously approved the sales flyers, the amended developer’s agreement and the application form for East View.