If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — On the recommendation of the Colfax Plan Commission, the Colfax Village Board has agreed to allow vinyl siding for the Homes by Croix Creek project in the East View residential development on Dunn Street.
High lumber prices are impacting builders, and to save some money on construction costs, John Fraley of Homes by Croix Creek would like to use vinyl siding, along with some decorative molding, window trim and possibly some stone work instead of what is listed in the developer’s agreement for East View, said Scott Gunnufson, village president and chair of the plan commission, at a meeting held March 8.
The developer’s agreement requires the finished house to have a value of at least $175,000.
According to the developer’s agreement with the Village of Colfax, “The Developer guarantees the building materials for the exterior of the home shall be brick, natural stone, wood clapboard, wood shingle, fiber cement siding, or engineered wood siding. Vinyl siding, imitation brick, or metal siding is prohibited.”
Some $300,000 to $400,000 houses do have vinyl siding and an “LP” combination, Gunnufson said.
“LP” refers to LP SmartSide lap siding, which is made from chips of wood glued together in a product called “oriented strand board,” which also is used as substitute for plywood.
Using the LP siding adds $100 per square foot, Gunnufson noted.
Lumber prices “are enough to stop you in your tracks,” Fraley said.
Although the price of lumber often will increase during construction season, in the fall, the price will begin to moderate — but that did not happen last fall, and the prices remain high, he said.
For the effort to market houses that cost under $300,000, “you have to have options to be competitive,” Fraley said.
The additional money that would be spent on LP siding could be used for other options to make the houses more attractive to buyers, he said.
Construction has already started on the first of the houses in the Homes by Croix Creek project.
Fraley intends to build five houses all together in East View.
Some of the options include Andersen windows, oak flooring, extra bedrooms and/or bathrooms and air exchangers, he said.
The air exchanger option costs $2,500 and is a good idea because the houses are built to be tight. The air exchanger blows out polluted air and draws in cold, dry air and eliminates condensation and cooking odors, Fraley explained.
The extra cost for more expensive siding would eliminate the options available to people interested in the houses, he said.
“It all adds up. One thing piles on top of the other,” Fraley said.
Mike Buchner, plan commission member, asked if there was something in between the LP siding and vinyl siding.
“No,” responded Gunnufson and Fraley.
The options for siding would be steel, aluminum, LP siding, or cement board, which carpenters do not like to work with, Fraley said.
“We do not build substandard houses,” he said.
Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, reminded the plan commission that at “multiple meetings,” plan commission members have talked about the possibility of modifying some of the terms of the developer’s agreement to assist with development in East View.
“A lot of people” have been turned away over the issue of using vinyl siding, she said.
The village purchased land from the Jim and Mary Schindler farm about seven years ago for the East View residential development with the intention of giving away the first six lots if certain conditions were met, such as completing construction on the house within one year of signing the developer’s agreement.
Over the years, at various plan commission meetings and village board meetings, trustees have lamented the fact that only one house has been built to date in East View and have discussed a variety of possible reasons as to why that might be.
Vinyl siding used to be of much poorer quality, noted Rand Bates, director of public works.
Will vinyl siding affect the assessed value of the house? Buchner asked.
Vinyl siding might affect the assessment “a little bit,” but the homeowner will get the value out of the house, Gunnufson said.
The house will appraise the same with vinyl siding for the sale price. Items such as the kind and quality of the windows make a difference on the resale value, Fraley said.
Solutions are needed so Fraley can continue building the houses and have success in selling them, Gunnufson said.
Lumber costs were not a consideration when East View first started or even just before SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, he said.
“I think we should help him,” said Dave Hovre, plan commission member.
Members of the Colfax Plan Commission unanimously approved a motion recommending that the village board approve allowing vinyl siding on the Homes by Croix Creek project.
The plan commission met at 5:30 p.m., and at the village board meeting at 7 p.m., the Colfax Village Board also unanimously approved allowing vinyl siding for the Homes by Croix Creek project.
The house currently under construction in East View will be used a model house so potential buyers can see what the finished product will look like, although the house also will be for sale, Fraley said.
With the approval of vinyl siding, contractors will start putting siding on the house next week, he said.
Plan commission members who attended the plan commission meeting, in addition to Gunnufson, included Logan Michels, Jason Johnson, Mike Buchner and Dave Hovre.
Plan commission member Nancy Hainstock was absent from the meeting.
Village board members who attended the village board meeting, in addition to Gunnufson, included Mark Halpin, Logan Michels and Anne Jenson.
Village trustees Margaret Burcham, Carey Davis and Gary Stene were absent from the meeting.
In additional business during the March 8 village board meeting, the Colfax Village Board approved an updated EMS mutual aid agreement and an updated advanced life support intercept agreement between the Menomonie Fire Department and the Colfax Rescue Squad.
According to a letter dated February 24 from Denny Klass, Menomonie Fire Chief, it has been approximately 10 years since the agreements were updated.
The intercept fee will increase from $200 to $250 to cover the cost of supplies and critical care medications provided to patients.
The mutual aid agreement will be automatically renewed from year to year unless either party gives notice seeking modification or termination of the agreement.
The advanced life support intercept agreement will remain in effect until either party provides a 30-day written notice of cancellation or modification.
In other business at the Colfax Village Board meeting, the village board:
• Approved a mobile home park license for Scharlau Investments for the mobile home park on Park Drive.
• Approved a bartender operator’s license for Jakob Moore (Viking Bowl) from March 8, 2021, to June 30, 2021.
• Approved a Certified Survey Map (CSM) for 711 University Avenue for the lot owned by Roger Johnson to increase the size of Lot 2.