SOUTH HAVEN — South Haven city officials are staying true to their word regarding an effort to spur the development of more affordable housing options in the area.
City officials plan to meet with members of South Haven Housing Commission and South Haven Township Board to examine possible ways to redevelop the former Overton factory site for residential use.
The meeting, the second one this fall for the three groups, is scheduled for 7 p.m., Nov. 11, at South Haven High School’s Integrated Learning Center, 600 Elkenburg St.
“This should be a very good session,” City Manager Brian Dissette said.
During the meeting, certified planner and economic development finance professional Ryan Kilpatrick will provide conceptual plans for reuse of the six-acre Overton property at the corner of Elkenburg Street and Indiana Avenue, which the city owns.
Kilpatrick, who has been hired as a consultant by the three boards to help them come up with more affordable housing in the South Haven area, is the executive director of Ottawa County Housing Next, a nonprofit based in Holland that works with government and private businesses to create affordable housing in Ottawa County.
Kilpatrick will be paid up to $15,000 for his services over the next 90-120 days. The three boards have agreed to split the costs of his consulting fee.
After the initial affordable housing session in September, Kilpatrick went to work to come up with possible ways to reuse the Overton site for residential development, along with providing estimates of how much it would cost to redevelop the site and how to finance it.
However, he has cautioned that one person’s definition of “affordable” may not be the same as others.
“Affordable to me would be different to somebody else,” Kilpatrick stated during the first housing session in September. He also cautioned that building new housing these days is not cheap.
“Construction is about as expensive as it has been in a very long time,” he said. The price of homes has also outpaced people’s annual income levels, he added.
Newer homes that are considered as more affordable are being built with less square footage than homes that have been constructed in the past 30-40 years.
“We are in a different market than the 1980s and ’90s,” Kilpatrick said. “Then, you could build houses relatively cheaply,” he said.