In a split vote at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, the council approved a development agreement with Windsor Homes for a 40 rental home subdivision to be built near Idler Lane that will be state-subsidized and income-based.
The council voted 3-2 to approve the resolution of support and the development agreement that specifies the city will build the extension of College Avenue past Idler Lane to the proposed subdivision, or about 1,000 feet of road. The estimated cost to the city would be $143,000 for the asphalt, curb, and gutter extension of College Avenue. It was unclear if the city will have additional expenses bringing sewer services near the subdivision as well.
The lengthy discussion included plenty of citizen input and council questions. Mike Niehaus of Windsor Homes was on-hand to answer questions along with Kathy Eller of the Bond County Housing Authority. Councilman Mike Heath asked if the proposed $8 million development would go forward if the city declined to build the road. Niehaus said it would not. Councilman Kenny Hampton pointed out that the city would be absorbing the cost of maintaining roads and sidewalks but would only recoup about $3,600 annually in property taxes. Local realtor Barb Smith told the council there are already 77 homes for sale with Greenville addresses and when these 40 homes come up for sale in 15 years they will glut the market further and drive down property values in the city. Mayor Alan Gaffner said he would have a hard time turning his back on an $8 million investment in the community for a list of ‘what-ifs’ that may never happen. There is no guarantee that after 15 years the homes would be offered for sale and they could remain rental properties for their entire life.
The current plan needs approval from the Illinois Housing Development Authority which could take 60 to 90 days. If approved, construction could start next summer. According to Niehaus, all 40 homes would be built in about 15 months. Niehaus also said Windsor Homes likes to use local subcontractors and buy local products whenever possible.
The Bond County Housing Authority would be in charge of maintaining the properties’ exteriors and common area while it remains rental property.
Councilmen Roger Sanders, Kenny Hampton, and Alan Gaffner voted ‘yes’ on the agreement. Councilmen John Gillard and Mike Health cast the ‘no’ votes.