January 11, 2008 Planning Board OKs 11 more new Homes By Brad Crocker The Mississippi Press
PASCAGOULA -- The construction of 11 more new homes in Pascagoula proposed by Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast was approved by the Planning Board Wednesday.
In December, the city approved 11 previous requests, bringing the total to 22 homes in a west Pascagoula neighborhood.
The Planning Board is a recommending body to the City Council, which will vote on Habitat's new requests on Monday.
Skip Avenue addresses of 1015, 1013, 1017 and 1115 are among the new sites submitted, as well as 1001 School St., 1007 School St., 1221 School St., 1216 Convent Ave., and 1008 Tucker Ave.
The agency hopes to break ground for the entire project later this month or in February, said Barbara Levine, HFHMGC's land acquisition manager and code construction director.
The requests Wednesday ranged from zoning, lot setback and width variances, and dividing some parcels to allow construction of multiple homes on one parcel of land -- requests similar to ones made in December.
Four additional site requests made Wednesday involved homes already approved by the city, but HFHMGC had to resubmit paperwork regarding minor details, Building Official Steve Mitchell said.
Mitchell said some of the homes will center around renovations. All the homes are in areas near the 100 Homes in 100 Days endeavor, he added.
Meanwhile, Levine said the agency is working on the application process to find qualified residents to occupy the new homes. HFHMGC also requires homeowners to complete "sweat equity" as part of the qualifications.
"They (HFHMGC) are definitely helping meet the demand for housing," said Mitchell, adding that the previous number of non-conforming lots in Pascagoula prevented Habitat from being able to secure property.
Mitchell said the city loosened some of those restraints after Hurricane Katrina, which opened the door to HFHMGC's plans being realized.
The only HFH home built in Pascagoula was the Carlisle home on Lanier Avenue in 2006, but HFHMGC has completed a total of 70 projects in Jackson County, including 40 homes and two KaBoom! playgrounds in Gautier.
The organization is also dedicating nine new homes for families in Vancleave on Saturday.
HFHMGC was created when Habitat chapters in Jackson and Harrison counties merged after Katrina. There are about 185 projects in various stages in both counties, ranging from permitted to completed, Levine added.
Reporter Brad Crocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 228-934-1431.
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