Habitat For Humanity Rezoning

Published 3:42 pm Tuesday, March 6, 2012

FARMVILLE – More than one million people have moved into Habitat for Humanity homes around the world.

Five more home lots have just been added in Farmville to increase their number.

Town Council approved a re-zoning request from Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity during its reconvened meeting last Wednesday night to achieve that result.

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Following a joint public hearing with the Farmville Planning Commission, and following the commission's recommendation, Town Council rezoned vacant property on Andrews Drive from Business District B-4 to Residential District R-3.

The action will provide property capable of accommodating the planned five single-family homes, the local Habitat organization's executive director Jayne Johnson told The Herald and the homes will likely be constructed over a two-year period.

The five empty lots total approximately 3.8 acres.

The public hearing drew no comments.

“I don't think we have anybody here to speak on the re-zoning request,” said Town Manager Gerald Spates.

“And we've not received any comments on it (at the Town Office),” Spates told council members Wednesday night.

Town Council's unanimous vote to approve the rezoning followed the all-aye recommendation by the planning commission.

Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity applauds the decision.

Ms. Johnson said it is “very important” to have the five properties available for home construction.

The local Habitat chapter has built 20 homes since 1990 and will dedicate its 21st home this month.

“The need for decent and affordable housing far exceeds the supply. There are over 1,000 families in Prince Edward alone,” she told The Herald on Monday, “that live in substandard housing or pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing” and are cost-burdened.

“That is why,” she explained, “we are wanting to increase the number of homes we build annually.”

The importance of rezoning the five properties is further underscored by the fact Habitat had only one remaining lot in the Town of Farmville.

“And we have an option on one other building lot in town,” she continued. “With these five we will have seven, all totaled.”

The lots won't be vacant long.

“It is likely we will have all lots built in two years,” she noted. “Affordable land is hard to find here.”

The local Habitat chapter has been building two homes a year.

“But beginning in July, we will build three homes year,” Ms. Johnson stated.

The Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity's website declares, “We believe that all our neighbors deserve safe, comfortable homes they can afford-and there's no better way to build our communities,” the local chapter's website states, “than to all lend a hand. Because when we all donate what we can-whether it be time or talent or money-we can build more decent, affordable homes for those in need.”

The organization's ReStore, meanwhile, contributes to reducing the incidence of substandard housing, Habitat points out, by providing new and used home improvement materials at affordable prices to area residents of all income levels, which serves to promote home maintenance and repair work.

Habitat for Humanity International has constructed more than 225,000 homes in over 3,000 communities world-wide since its founding in 1976.

In addition to paying a down payment and making monthly mortgage payments, those moving into Habitat homes also invest “sweat equity,” helping to construct their own home and volunteering to help build Habitat homes for others.

Seven more homes in Farmville are on the way.