A potential new 350-plus unit manufactured housing development in Lake Havasu City cleared its first hurdle on Wednesday.
The Planning and Zoning Commission voted 6-0 to recommend approval of a request by Havasu-based North American Assets to change the future land use designation of 39.54 acres, located immediately northeast of Lowe’s, from “Employment” to “High Density Residential.” The commission’s recommendation will be forwarded to the City Council which will hold a public hearing to consider the request during a future council meeting, before voting to officially approve or deny the request.
Ultimately, North American Assets is hoping to develop a manufactured home community called The Villages at Victoria Farms on six lots located between Chenoweth Road and the west end of Victoria Farms Road.
In order for such a development to be allowed, the land use designation change must be approved by council, which would open the door for the properties to be rezoned. Waylon Gates with North American Assets said the development would need to be rezoned to a Manufactured Housing District. The lots are currently a mix of zoning including agricultural-preservation, a light industrial/planned development, and an industrial district.
Gates told the commission that more detailed plans will be made if and when the property has the appropriate zoning, but the current plan is to include between 350 and 400 housing units including manufactured homes and RV spaces. The development would also include a host of shared amenities for residents including resort-style pools, pickleball and bocce ball courts, dog parks, walking trails, a clubhouse, and barbeques.
Gates told the commission that there will be a variety of home sizes and prices available in the development. He said the cheapest units will be a manufactured version of the “tiny home” concept – a one bedroom unit with about 400 square feet of living space. He said those tiny homes will start out under $100,000. Gates also said the largest units available in the Villages would be a four bedroom unit that costs about $200,000.
Residents will purchase the home, and pay a monthly rent for the space and access to the development’s amenities. Gates told the commission they are still working on what rents will be, but said they are thinking roughly $600 to $700 per month.
James Gray, CEO of the Partnership for Economic Development, said his organization supports this proposal because it addresses a severe lack of availability and affordability in the local housing market. He noted that the average price of a home in Havasu is $403,000 – which is 30.4% higher than it was 12 months ago. Gray told the commission that the situation is making it difficult for businesses to retain workers, or attract new workers. He cited estimates that, in all, Lake Havasu City needs about 1,500 to 2,000 additional homes.
Gray also told the commission that The Villages at Victoria Farms is able to provide more affordable housing by eliminating the cost of the land itself, and instead renting the space out to the residents. He said the price of land in Havasu is the biggest problem with creating affordable housing. He noted that the infill lots left in town are currently selling for about $125,000 and they are largely the least desirable lots that are the most difficult to build on.
According to the projects working timeline, Gates said the City Council will consider the requested land use designation change at its Dec. 14 meeting. If approved by council, North American Assets will start the rezoning process which would come to the Planning and Zoning Commission on Jan. 12, then the City Council on Feb. 15. If approved, Gates said construction could start as early as spring 2022.
Construction is expected to take 12 months to grade the land, install infrastructure and complete the amenities. Once the development is ready, Gates said he expects to be able to have manufactured homes delivered, installed, and ready to be sold relatively quickly.
Commissioner David Diaz said he believes this type of project will help fill the need for more affordable housing.
“These types of projects are nice. I’ve seen hundreds of these types of things – it’s not really that unique – but it does meet a need here in Havasu,” Diaz said. “Great project, and great job on what you guys have done.”