CHARLOTTE, Mich. — The city of Eaton Rapids is looking to grow, but to do that, they need more housing development. That's why the city recently established a housing incentive committee.
City Manager Aaron Desentz said the goal is to identify the reasons why Eaton Rapids has not seen housing development similar to other cities and to put in place a program to address the problem.
“And while housing has been developed over several years, we still want to continue growing at a much faster pace. So the idea now is to look at some housing incentives that could expedite the growth of our housing stock,” Desentz said.
Some incentives the board might look at are tax breaks, tax increment financing and the city working with developers on utility costs.
Desentz said the city has had a lot of infill housing going up, with a few homes built each year, but it’s been 15 years since a larger subdivision came to the city.
“You see development occurring in other cities, but unfortunately, Eaton Rapids just has not had major neighborhood development within several years here at this point," Desentz said. "So that’s one of the things that we’re hoping to have answered at our committee meetings.”
Committee member and Councilwoman Pam Colestock said current ordinances aren’t development friendly.
“We have developers that come to us periodically they want to do things, we do have property within the city where developers have purchased, and they want to be able to build but then they run into a lot of roadblocks,” Colestock said.
What Colestock calls roadblocks range from developers being responsible for paying the build-out of the utilities to aspects of the ordinance that don’t clearly define expectations for the developer, which makes it difficult for the city to come up with those parameters.
“We just said you know what, it’s time for us to take a look at this and what can we do as a city government to make this look more attractive,” she said.
The committee plans to start meeting in early September.
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