Village project ‘definition of smart growth’
Development takes advantage of housing law
By Jason Starr, Essex Reporter, August 27, 2009
The Village Haven neighborhood in Essex Junction is billed as an example of Vermont’s newest affordable housing strategy.
Developer Brad Dousevicz talks about the new Village Haven neighborhood at a news conference last week.
The 24-home complex off Roscoe Court near West Street is the first development in the state to take advantage of the “Vermont Neighborhood” desig-nation created by lawmakers last year. The designation eliminates the state’s Act 250 environmental review, cutting out significant time and costs for the developer.
Brad Dousevicz of Dousevicz Real Estate, Inc., said receiving Vermont Neighborhood status for Village Haven “really allowed us to keep our price points lower and commit to green building that we may not have been able to do if we had to pay for permitting … The potential delays and costs could have resulted in thousands of more dollars per home.”
The neighborhood, which broke ground this summer and is expected to have homes ready for occupancy by the end of the year, will consist of 18 single homes and six duplexes on six acres. Prices range from $273,000 to $320,000.
Dousevicz achieved a density of four homes per acre in order to receive Vermont Neighborhood status and forego Act 250 review. Other factors in getting designated are proximity to schools, shopping and services. Village Haven fits the bill with kindergarten through 12th grade all within walking distance. The shopping centers of Post Office Square and Mac’s Market as well as the restaurants of Five Corners are also close by.
“This is good legislation at work,” Dousevicz said. “We are very pleased to be the first project designated … Village Haven will truly be a walkable community. It is the definition of smart growth.”
Dousevicz added that the legislation has opened developers’ eyes to the potential of parcels in downtown areas throughout the state – so called “infill” development.
Gov. Jim Douglas attended Village Haven’s groundbreaking ceremony last week and noted the development will fill a niche for middle-income families.
“We don’t have enough working class housing for families who earn too much to get subsidies, but who are still struggling to pay the bills,” Douglas said.
More information is available at www.villagehavenvt.com.