Valley View lots not selling Need for high end homes not met
The Staples housing assessment presented at the Staples Economic Development Authority meeting in April showed a strong demand for high end homes, both for rental and to purchase. Michael Schoenecker of AdMark Resources, the company that did the assessment, said there are relatively few lots in Staples where high-end homes could be built. There is one subdivision on the north end of Staples where new homes can be built, but only five homes have been built there since it opened in 2008 and the national housing bubble burst.
In 2006, the housing market was good and the Highview subdivision, which was a project taken on by the city, had just been filled up. “It made sense to start a new one at the time,” said City Administrator Jerel Nelsen, who was the EDA director then.
Nelsen said the Highview lots sat idle for a while when it was first developed, then it took off.
When Jim Vogel and Wayne Haglin approached the city with a proposal to develop what is now known as Valley View, under the name of Voglin Properties, the city council was pleased because they did not want to continue in the real estate business, said Nelsen. The council had considered developing city owned land north of Highview and west of 12th St NE, but they decided that private development would be better.
The city used a bond to bring utilities to the area, paid for through general taxes and special assessments. Soon after the Valley View development was constructed with sewer, water, electricity and paved streets, the housing turndown of 2008 hit.
“They were a victim of the times,” said Nelsen.
There are now five houses built on Spruce Drive in the development, but there is plenty of room for more homes to be built.
Nelsen said the development included a five year assessment deferral for the paved roads and a 12 year deferral for sewer and water.
Staples City Clerk Phil Lindaman said as soon as a house is built, the assessments kick in. The five homes that are built are paying off their assessments, with two of them already paid off completely.
Nelsen said the city is not worried about losing their investment. “Over time it will develop and the assessments will be paid,” said Nelsen. That time could start soon, as the recent housing study indicated a need for newer homes in Staples.
Wayne Haglin still owns most of the Valley View lots. He said everything is still for sale but he hasn’t gotten many phone calls recently, even though the housing market is picking up. “The lots have $20,000 of assessments on them and people don’t want to pay it,” said Haglin. “I don’t have any hopes that they will sell.”
Since they are not selling, Haglin said he has stopped paying taxes on them and will let them go over to the state, in which case Wadena County would eventually sell the lots. He said there could be a chance for it to work if the city takes them over and implement creative financing to mitigate the assessments, but he said he hasn’t been able to work out a deal.
This week work started on a new home in Staples at the corner of Prairie Ave. and 2nd Street NE. The lot was purchased from the City of Staples by Shawna Kovach.
The corner of Valley View Drive and Voglin Court is still waiting for houses to be built. The housing downturn of 2008 stopped most new construction in Staples, even now few new homes are being built.