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Plymouth Board of Public Works Supports Possible Townhouse Projects on Water Street

February 25, 2019
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Townhouse_Water StreetMonday evening the Plymouth Board and Public Works and Safety were asked to support a non-traditional Habitat for Humanity building project in the city’s downtown district.

Dean Byers, Executive Director of the Marshall County Habitat for Humanity, Brent Martin, local architect and a representative from Neighborhood Development Associates in South Bend appeared before the Board of Works to discuss a project for the city.

Byers said he was contacted by Argos and Bourbon a year ago seeking ideas on how to add residential properties to the communities to increase their population and the tax base.  His suggestion was to convert a town-owned parcel into housing like Plymouth did on Harrison Street a number of years ago.  Byers said these homes would be built by contractors instead of volunteers and the qualifying homeowners would seek their own financing.

Brent Martin presented the plan for Plymouth which includes the creation four urban townhomes on the east side of Water Street between Washington and Garro Streets.  The area is currently a parking lot and Martin said a recent parking study showed the lot had 208 parking spaces and at peak demand only 106 spaces were used.  The proposal is to consume 44 of the parking spaces for the new residential project.

An IDHC grant would be applied for and could provide up to $40,000 per dwelling unit in the form of a subsidy in the total amount of $160,000.  Martin said there is also a required 25% match, and the land donated by the city could meet the match.  He said the grant subsidy will make the homes affordable to families earning 80% of median income or less, for a family of four that would be $50,250.

Martin also asked for $1,000 to help with underwriting the grant application costs. He also spoke about the flood plain and said Territorial Engineering and Surveying has done the elevation work. Martin explained that the townhomes first floor is a walk-up type design, with the first floor elevation being approximately 6 feet above the flood line.  He also said each home would have a garage for 2 cars and parking for 2 additional vehicles.

In closing Martin said, “We believe this homeownership program will help address a housing shortage for middle income families and comports with the city’s Comprehensive Plan, downtown studies and parking study.”

With only a few questions the Board of Public Works and Safety was supportive of the project and motioned so by a 6 to 1 vote with Shiloh Milner voting against the project.

Martin said they will need to seek additional approves including the Board of Zoning Appeals for building variances and the Plan Commission for the approval of a minor plat.  He continued, “If the IHCDA grant is not successful, we will reapply for this funding.  If the application to the BZA and Plan Commission are not approved, then the project will not move forward in Plymouth.”