Arrogance, stupidity or corruption?
What in the hell were they thinking? Two of Columbia County’s usually conservative commissioners were apparently riding herd on the movement over a year ago to get full commission approval on an agreement to welcome and encourage the Magnolia Trace housing project. The subsidized subdivision, which I believe is the first of its kind in suburban Columbia County, will be located right smack dab in the middle of one of the oldest and established areas of Martinez. The concept has gone over with the surrounding neighbors like a racy limerick in a monastery: There once was a fellow named Cross… In Evans they said he was boss… He brought in low rent… His credibility spent… Blaming hysteria and memory loss… Well, that doesn’t sound racy, but it does tell the story of hundreds of residents being screwed, all at once, no less. The specifics will be playing out at Waterloo… um… I mean… the commission meeting… set to take place about two minutes after this column was submitted on deadline for your approval. Just for kicks and giggles, please enjoy some real estate intelligence prepared by my Steeler fan buddy Joe Loomer, a veteran Realtor who insists the project will be a net gain, at least in raw property value, for the community. Magnolia Trace is surrounded by Petersburg Station to the north, west and southwest and El Cordero and Phillips Estates to the east and southeast. Petersburg Station was built in the early ’80s. Of the 19 sales in Petersburg Station this year, six were distressed (31.5 percent) and sold at an average price of $84,956. The average sale price year-to-date for non-distressed sales in Petersburg Station is $122,788. El Cordero and Phillips Estates were built in the ’60s and ’70s, respectively. The average sales price for the three sales this year in Phillips Estates is $83,633. Two of those sales were foreclosed properties. There have only been two sales in 2011 in El Cordero — both owner-occupant sales — one of which was a large home of 2,576 square feet which sold for $179,000 in March, the other a small 1,326 square foot ranch which sold for $84,900 in August. The average sale price in 2011 for the 36 sold homes zoned specifically for all three affected schools — South Columbia Elementary, Lakeside Middle and Lakeside High School is $96,032. Fourteen of those sales were foreclosures (38.88 percent). Magnolia Trace — if they build true to their fact sheet — will be improving the value and quality of the construction in the area — not hurting it. Which calls for the question: How can building 1300-1500 square foot homes with modern building materials including energy efficient standards for roofing, air conditioning, water use and heating, and including amenities like two-car garages, sidewalks, streetlights and a neighborhood clubhouse hurt this area? Very interesting information, to be sure. But as I reminded Joe, it is not the physical development that neighbors are concerned about, it is the personal behavior and habits of the people who will be moving into the nice, new, shiny housing. Concentrated, government subsidized housing has never, ever, ever contributed to a neighborhood’s standard of living in this area. But who knows, there is a first time for almost everything. I don’t believe this will be one of those times.You Might Also Like:
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