LAWRENCEVILLE — The housing crash has left some developers — the ones who survived — trying a different tact to get back to work.
Three took their case to commissioners Tuesday, trying to get a reduction in the allowed square footages of homes and some downgrades in building materials to complete subdivisions started just before the bottom dropped out of the housing market three years ago.
“We’re all trying to come up with the answer,” attorney Tracy Blasi said, as she presented a case for Tuscany Park on Rock Springs Road. Eight houses have been sold of the 39 lots. “We have every intention of finishing this development out.”
Blasi said four-sided brick no longer translates into value, so she wanted to get some flexibility on the building materials.
Mitch Peevey was also looking for a reduced size and flexibility in building material for the Providence Walk on Ivy Creek subdivision on Thompson Mill Road, which was foreclosed on after six houses were built. Former Sugar Hill Councilman Curtis Westbrook bought the first house for $325,000, but only two have sold since — for about $250,000, Peevey said. He wanted to reduce the price point in the active-adult community to about $250,000 on average and Westbrook had agreed to the changes.
Neighbors balked, though, concerned that the reduction in standards would affect their own home values.
“I’m frustrated,” said Commissioner Mike Beaudreau, who pointed out that the original conditions were reached in both cases as a compromise with homeowners for reduced lot sizes. “At some point we have to draw a line and say, ‘What we promised to people matters.’ ... When is the madness going to stop?”
Commissioners approved the change to the Rock Springs development and delayed a vote on the Thompson Mill project so the nearby residents could meet with developers. A change in conditions heard earlier this year for Bogan Meadows project was approved Tuesday.
“The environment we lived in in 2006 will never be here again,” said Commissioner John Heard, an architect. “We’re in a new age.”