Scott Fletcher: Affordable housing is possible
Prebuilt Housing Technologies, LLC
Like any other member of this community I have heard the phrase “affordable housing” pass the lips of town officials, business owners and those of us in the building industry countless times in the past 30 years. We all know from the largest to the smallest business owner that this need is immense, and though discussed with good intentions, the task for the most part has fallen short. The present project model for this type of construction and development seems to be riddled with complications. Whether it is an issue with density, location, overall appearance or just the fact that costs prohibit a true affordable product, there always seems to be a rub. Generally these relationships, while navigating through the process, are strained at the very least. Cooperation between the county or specific town and the private sector with a purpose of creating an affordable community with reasonable profitability is in truth the solution here. Currently, from the time a project is envisioned to the realization of a product that becomes sellable, the sheer amount of hands that are in line to profit are vast.
The burden of developing a raw piece of property is no easy task and invokes the need to inflict a margin of profit at all phases of the construction process ” from infrastructure to the final sale ” in hopes of offset risk and liability. These projected or estimated costs that are not attributed to the true vertical costs of construction have to be accounted for because they are not always tangible or foreseen. Unfortunately, these costs are always burdened by the end user resulting in what is no longer considered affordable. In short, the speculation that a developer will sell out the entire project on time and under budget is a gamble, and additional costs are inflicted to ensure. The ability to provide our community a real and affordable living product is possible. The solution is not in the present way of doing business but an expanded level of participation with the entities that can make this happen. If the need is of the utmost priority then the possible solution should be also. The answer to the problem exists, and the tools to make it happen are viable. What needs to be further explored is the willingness and cooperation of the participants that are capable of achieving this goal. Further explanation of the details to accomplish this would be too lengthy for this setting, but I am available to discuss this further at any time with county or town entities.
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