Manchester council discusses proposal to incentivize future subdivisions

MANCHESTER, Iowa — In an effort to bolster the city’s housing stock, Manchester City Council members are considering incentivizing developers to construct new single-family homes in the area.

“We do not have very many houses for sale, and once they go on sale, they are gone immediately,” Mayor Milt Kramer told the Telegraph Herald this week. “We need homes. We have a number of developers that are interested.”

During a meeting this week, City Council members discussed plans by local developers Al and Jeff Krogmann to construct 13 single-family homes near Beckman Sports Complex, as well as efforts by another local entity to add homes on a 24-acre lot adjacent to Bailey Drive.

The acreage near Bailey Drive was recently purchased by Manchester Enterprises Inc., and officials there hope to find a developer interested in building homes on the land. It is unclear how many homes would be added, City Administrator Tim Vick said after the meeting.

Both subdivisions would eventually need to be approved by the city planning and zoning commission, after which the council would discuss incentives to pay for infrastructure on the properties.

“As part of that development, we will work on a development agreement with the property owners and figure out how to get the infrastructure put in place,” Vick said.

City officials plan to use tax-increment financing to help the developers install infrastructure such as water, sanitary and storm sewer and streets at both sites. This financing method would give the developers back a portion of the money from the increased property taxes they would have incurred as a result of the improvements.

Vick said it is too soon to know the cost to add infrastructure at both locations, but he hopes the work can be completed by this fall so developers can break ground next spring. The single-family homes near Beckman Sports Complex are estimated to cost about $275,000 to $350,000, which Vick said is a typical price range as costs for building materials have continued to rise nationwide.

“Those higher dollar (homes) are selling, and we are seeing more people coming into the community,” he said.

With the expansion of local businesses and development of a new grocery store in the city, new homes are desperately needed, Vick said.

“We need the housing in order for us to be able to attract people to get community growth,” he said.