Non-profit no longer building affordable homes at Ashland subdivision

ASHLAND, Ore. – Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity looks to no longer be providing new homes at the ‘Beach Creek Subdivision’ in Ashland.

Eight Habitat for Humanity homes were expected to be built in Ashland on land donated by KDA Homes.

Now, the developer said they are looking for a new partner and both sides are unhappy.

Four years ago, the land was annexed to Ashland-based ‘KDA Homes,’ which hopes to build 54 new single-family homes.

But now, two local families, who were hoping to live in Ashland are looking for new options.

“We’re searching for other options in Ashland for them,” RV Habitat for Humanity executive director Denise James said. “Both households live and work in Ashland currently. We feel a responsibility toward them to make sure they can remain in Ashland.”

James said the non-profit is trying to get the families in Ashland, where habitat hasn’t built in 20 years.

“It’s very disappointing to us that we’re not able to move forward with this partnership and it just wasn’t presented to us the way actuality came about,” she said.

James isn’t the only one unhappy with the scenario.

“It’s a disappointment, because this is a dream we’ve all had,” KDA Homes managing partner Laz Ayala said. “I mean, the dream started with us, okay let’s go find a local partner and they were our dream partner.”

He said city rules regarding affordable housing led them to partner with Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity.

They donated eight lots to the non-profit.

But in just the last few weeks, after taking applications last year for eight new homes, Habitat is no longer involved in this project.

Ayala said the non-profit does not want to pay for improvements required for the land, like paving new roads, sidewalks, installing utilities and more.

“We’re only asking to get reimbursed for the cost of the infrastructure, $75,000 per lot $600,000 total,” he said. “That’s still less than 50% of the market value of those lots.”

Ayala said a lot has changed since the development was first proposed; including inflation, skyrocketing construction costs, supply chain delays and rising interest rates.

According to Ayala, KDA offered to let Habitat pay the $600,000 through either monthly payments or whenever they can secure the funding.

But James sees it differently.

“They weren’t required to donate the land but they were required to have the land included with infrastructure,” she said. “But they did offer to donate the land and that was the agreement and budget we planned when we agreed to build the homes they wanted built.”

Now, the non-profit is preparing to back away from the project.

“The impression was that they didn’t show any interest in exploring any creative ideas or idea of any kind,” Ayala said. “They were pretty fixed on things the way I guess they expected them.”

As far as what’s next, KDA Homes is now in talks with other non-profits, to make the site work and bring other new homeowners to Ashland.

The city of Ashland said before the development can be plotted, a partnership needs to be established or KDA Homes must come up with a plan to build the affordable houses themselves.

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NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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