Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Will it be possible for the city of Kuna to compromise on smaller house sizes?

The city of Kuna should be in for some tough decisions regarding smaller lot sizes and smaller houses.
Right now, the city of Kuna is the hottest real estate game in town, mostly because of the quick sales of some of the smallest houses in the Treasure Valley. At 850 to 1140 square feet, houses in the Silvertip Subdivision, south of town off Luker Road, have been flying off the shelves, something to the tune of about 50 houses built and sold in just the last three or four months.
I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of the new residents of these houses, and they are to be considered a welcome addition to Kuna. One woman I met, a widow who moved back to the Treasure Valley from Florida, was looking for a smaller house and yard to take care of but large enough to hold a lifetime of belongings. The one-story, 1100-square-foot house was perfect and the small town of Kuna reminds her of the town she was born in in Kentucky.
She will be turning her entire back yard into a vegetable and flower garden — no lawn to mow. She’ll have no stairs to climb, but she’ll have enough room for relatives to come stay with her.
In a way, she’s a perfect argument for building smaller houses. She’s a model citizen and she’s part of a growing generation of empty nesters looking to downsize.
However, as I wrote a couple of weeks ago, city planning director Steve Hasson recognizes that we have to avoid becoming the “starter capital of the world.”
I think Hasson has the right idea with allowing some concessions in the short term without making blanket changes to development agreements.
For example, if someone with a 100-house subdivision wants to build smaller houses, let him build one phase of 20 or 30 houses at a smaller square footage but require houses thereafter to be larger.
That way, the city can keep the hot Kuna market going and still protect its future.

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