The Planning Commission here has approved a rezoning request and site plan to allow a developer to build a 16-home subdivision of Habitat for Humanity homes in North Garner.
The subdivision would be on a 5-acre tract of land off of Johnson Street, which is north of Avery Park.
This would be the first neighborhood of its kind in Garner. Jim Middleton, land acquisition development manager for Habitat for Humanity of Wake County, said there are Habitat for Humanity homes scattered around Garner, but none are in one particular subdivision. The last habitat home in Garner was built last year, he said.
“So we’re excited about hoping to be able able to provide 16 units here,” Middleton said.
Middleton said last year, Habitat for Humanity of Wake County built 51 houses.
According to its website, “Habitat for Humanity of Wake County builds safe, affordable houses for qualified homebuyers regardless of race, religion or background. Each Habitat home is built in partnership with homeowner families, sponsors and volunteers.”
Prospective homeowners attend workshops on financial literacy and home maintenance in preparation of becoming a homeowner. They must also take part in building their own home.
Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976, and has served more than 3,000 communities, including Garner.
“We have a history of building in Garner and Garner has been very supportive of our program providing a lot of volunteers for us, which is how we’ve built our houses,” Middleton said.
Middleton said there is a “tremendous need” for affordable housing in Wake County. He said Habitat for Humanity is trying to steer people to homeownership, rather than renting homes.
“If someone is paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing, that puts them in a struggle situation,” he said. “And then you have high-crime neighborhoods that are a problem. People are living in houses that are substandard. Mostly rental, but just not being kept up by landlords. Municipalities try to correct that situation as much as they can but they can’t keep up with it.”
The current zoning of the 5-acre tract is community retail, which would typically allow for retail stores, restaurants or offices. But it excludes residential uses, including single-family and multi-family residential.
The proposed rezoning request to an R-9 would allow for residential single-family homes with a minimum 9,000 square-feet lot size. That is a little more than a fifth of an acre.
The proposed 16-home subdivision would generate approximately 153 trips per day. The road is maintained by the town.
The vote to approve the rezoning request and conditional use site plan were both unanimous. It will go before the town council at the first September meeting.
Middleton said the subdivision would take about two years to complete. He said it takes about 90 days to build a house now, but he was unsure of when Habitat planned to start building.
“Our applicants and our home buyers love living in Garner, mainly because a lot of them work in downtown (Raleigh) and other areas close,” Middleton said. “People like the small town atmosphere that Garner has versus Raleigh.”