Home Local News City Commission approves two more housing subsidies

City Commission approves two more housing subsidies

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The Hobbs City Commission on Tuesday night approved two more development agreements with contractors, which will reimburse the construction companies for certain costs to build homes in the city.

The city commission unanimously approved development agreements with ABS Homes of Hobbs and Sombra Homes of Hobbs.

The development agreement with ABS Homes will reimburse the contractor up to $100,000 for the installation of municipal infrastructure adjacent to the front property lines of new homes, such as water and sewer lines, streets and sidewalks. The development agreement with Sombra Homes will reimburse the company up to $42,000 for the installation of similar municipal infrastructure improvements.

ABS Homes is building an additional 10 homes in the Zia Crossing subdivision just west of Zia Park Casino, while Sombra Homes is building four homes in the Broadmoor Park subdivision.

The publicly funded subsidies are intended to encourage contractors to build new housing in the city.

The agreements require ABS Homes and Sombra Homes to build single-family, market-rate homes within six months. The homes must also be made in an energy-efficient design, with either a stucco or brick exterior.

“They are building homes in the city of Hobbs that are desperately needed,” said Kevin Robinson, the city’s development director.

City Commissioner Marshall Newman asked a representative of ABS Homes how many homes the contractor has built in the city.

Olivia Stuard of ABS Homes said the company has built 200 homes in the city, with another 18 to 20 in progress.

“Everything that is built is occupied,” Stuard said.

Daniel Torres of Sombra Homes said his company has built about 20 homes in Hobbs, with another four in progress.

“And we’ve acquired more lots … in the Broadmoor subdivision,” Torres said. “We’ve built over on Windsor (Estates) and beyond the Walmart area.”

Mayor Sam Cobb said he’s glad to see more single-family housing developments approved by the city commission, but he said the city still faces a serious housing shortage.

“We have to start getting focused on multi-family again,” Cobb, owner and president of RMS Foods, told the News-Sun after Tuesday night’s meeting. “Personally, in my business, I just hired a graduate of Texas Tech University to come to work for me in my quality assurance department, and we cannot find an apartment for him to live in in this town.”

The latest housing development agreements come after the city commission last month revised its housing incentive program, while dropping proposed requirements that would have made developers use local vendors to receive the incentives.

The resolution adopting the incentive program for the current fiscal year states any development agreement for single-family housing may not exceed $100,000, or be less than $30,000, and must produce at least three new homes. It also caps the incentive at $250,000 for multi-family development agreements, with a minimum incentive of $75,000, and no stipulation regarding the number of multi-family units that must be built.

New language that would have required all developers of single-family housing seeking the incentive to have no less than 65 percent of the delivered home sourced through Lea County vendors — and all developers of multi-family housing seeking the incentive to have no less than 40 percent of the housing sourced through Lea County vendors — was stripped out by the city commission after city commissioners expressed concerns the requirements could drive up home and rental prices.

The city’s past development agreements have had no requirements to use local vendors or buy locally.

The city approved its first multi-family housing development agreement in February 2012. Subsequently, a total of $3.9 milion has been awarded to contractors in multi-family housing development agreements that incentivize the production of market rate multi-family housing, valued at about $92 million.

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