Habitat homes could lead to real estate losses

August 4, 2014

This letter is in response to a Friday article by Emily Petsko on the proposal by Habitat for Humanity to build two houses on Palm Street and Franklin Terrace in North Franklin Township.

The major reason the community objects is we were told they will be building stick-style homes similar to the ones in West Washington at a value of $110,000 to $120,000. They say this is the maximum cost the good people who will move into the homes can afford and maintain. All the homes on Franklin Terrace have an estimated value of $250,000 or more. They were built there under R2 zoning requirements, which allows single-family homes on half-acre lots. The new homes being built by Habitat for Humanity might result in real estate values dropping in the whole area. The new structures will bring new tax dollars to the township, but that may be peanuts compared to the future loss to all the homes affected by the devaluation process.

If all these people lose thousands of dollars in real estate holdings, do you think any of them will support future projects by Habitat for Humanity?

When this area of Franklin Farms was developed, it was zoned R2. About 30 years ago, the township elected to change the zoning from R2 to R3, which allows multifamily dwellings on smaller lots. At the same time, they made changes on Franklin Farms Road to commercial zoning. The majority of the homeowners did not realize this was done until years later. At the time, property owners did not realize the significance of this change. Now they do. It’s a good reason for all of us to pay constant attention to what goes on in our community and elect responsible officials who will look after all our interests.

The residents who have been affected are willing to work with Habitat for Humanity to resolve the issues, but so far all offers have not been given any attention. The township is having another meeting where the issue will be discussed Wednesday.

Layton Wise

North Franklin Township


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