Habitat seeks to build four homes in Cornwall

CORNWALL —  Habitat for Humanity of Addison County is proposing to build what would be Cornwall’s first-ever affordable housing subdivision on a 13-acre parcel off DeLong Road.

The Cornwall Planning Commission conducted its first review of Habitat’s plan last week, which calls for four homes to be built on a combined total of four acres of the parcel, which Habitat is seeking to purchase from John and Elaine Tavalozzi for $85,000. The remaining 11 acres would be kept open, according to Habitat board member Bruce Byers, who is also a Cornwall resident.

Each home would have its own well and septic system.

If all goes according to schedule, Habitat and its volunteers would build the four homes over the next three years. As is Habitat’s policy, the qualifying homeowners would put at least 200 hours of sweat equity into the building of their respective abodes. They would end up with low, interest-free mortgage payments that would provide additional revenues for Habitat to create more much-needed affordable housing in Addison County.

“We are delighted to have been able to find this property,” Byers said on Thursday. “It is a wonderful location.”

It’s a location that would offer prime views and good quality of life to the future residents, according to Byers and fellow Habitat board member William Biederman.

Habitat of Addison County has built five homes since it was established 13 years ago. The DeLong Road subdivision would allow the organization to almost double its output by 2014. The organization’s last project was completed at Otter View Park off Weybridge Street in Middlebury. Habitat members have for the past several months been itching to take on a new project, but there have been few available parcels to snap up for affordable housing initiatives in the county, according to Byers.

That all changed late last year with news not only of the availability of the DeLong Road parcel, but also a pot of $75,000 to help acquire it. Cornwall planners stipulated, as part of their conditional approval of the 20-lot Foote Farm subdivision off Route 125, that the developers put up $75,000 for creation of future affordable housing opportunities in town. Habitat is now seeking to put that money into play for acquisition of the DeLong Road parcel.

But Byers noted $75,000 alone will not make the four-home project a reality. To that end, organizers will spend the next three years trying to raise $375,000 to cover basic construction capital. Volunteer labor and in-kind contributions are expected to cover the rest.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the cause should contact Byers at 462-3677 or Susan Jefferies at 453-3611. The Habitat office number is 388-0400.

Habitat officials said they hope to begin construction of the first of the four new homes after receiving subdivision approval. Byers said he is optimistic the Cornwall Planning Commission will green light the project.

“We have no reason to think the planning commission won’t support it, but we await their decision,” Byers said.

Biederman said the four homes won’t be all alike.

“We build the house to fit the family,” Biederman said.

Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.


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