St. Luke’s Village developer wants to build cheaper houses

Published 12:34 pm Wednesday, October 14, 2015

By Diana McFarland

News editor

Developers of St. Luke’s Village are asking for changes that would lower the price of the houses, but allow the project to move forward.

And because the proposed development is within the St. Luke’s Historic District, it must pass muster with the Isle of Wight County Historic and Architectural Review Committee.

The Sadler Building Corporation came before the HRAC last week, asking to depart from historical district guidelines for vinyl siding, overhangs, landscaping and roof pitch. Other requests included switching from building on crawl spaces to raised slabs, removing porch railings and faux hinges and shutter dogs on the shutters to give the appearance of being operable, among other changes. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Ed Sadler, president of Sadler Building Corporation, said the changes would knock about $26,000 to $30,000 off the price of the houses, which would sell for the high $200,000s to the high $300,000s. The lot sizes and design of the subdivision would remain the same for the 135 single-family homes. The development also includes townhouses and retail space. It was originally approved in 2005, and at the time, the housing industry was expanding into a bubble that eventually burst in 2009.

The original housing plans called for the use of wood, Hardiplank siding or brick for exterior walls, and the use of vinyl siding only on portions not visible from the street. Another departure being requested is reducing the amount of landscaping around the entire house.

Sadler said there are several forces at work, such as having to compete with Ryan Homes across the street at Benn’s Grant, clients with less money to spend and who are older and don’t want to climb stairs and perform much maintenance on their homes.

Sadler said homes in the $290,000 to $350,000 range are the “bread and butter of workforce housing.”

“If they want to spend more, they’re not coming here,” Sadler said.

Committee member Lee Duncan said the changes result in a home that isn’t “special and unique” for St. Luke’s.

“I understand you have to cut costs, but it’s not very cool looking,” Duncan said.

Sadler said that if they could improve the economy of the area, they would build a higher quality home.

Isle of Wight Director of Planning and Zoning Beverly Walkup advised holding firm to historic district guidelines in terms of the overhang. Sadler wants to remove the overhang, which currently calls for at least eight inches. Walkup also suggested asking for a mix of porches with and without railings.

Committee member Durwood Scott said the goal of the committee was to preserve that area and Historic St. Luke’s Church.

Sadler agreed to provide drawings of what the houses would look like with the proposed changes and the issue was tabled to the November meeting. {/mprestriction}