The Denison City Council is looking into affordable housing options, after the city failed to bring in bidders in December on 51 parcels of land that were offered to developers.

The Denison City Council is looking into affordable housing options, after the city failed to bring in bidders in December on 51 parcels of land that were offered to developers.


The Denison City Council received one bid for the housing projects, but the bid was not compliant with the guidelines, and was be rejected.


"We are back to square one, or close to square one," said Denison Community Development Director Tom Speakman.


The move comes after a similar project in 2009 produced about 20 houses. The project slowed, however, as the housing market slowed due to the weak economy, said Speakman. With the initial program, the builders were left with few fees and title costs paid by the city. However with the move in 2013, the builder’s were required to bid at least $300, the cost of the title transfer fee. This is what has led to hesitation on the part of the builders, said Speakman.


"They just didn’t want to be out any money," said Speakman.


When referring to the project, Speakman clarified that these affordable projects are not aimed directly at low-income individuals.


"We aren’t going to take someone who makes $20,000 a year and put them in a house," said Speakman. "We aren’t going to set someone up for failure."


Speakman discussed possibilities for enticing developers and builders into the project, and what incentives the city could offer. The possibility of waived building permit fees and free dumpsters and service for the build sites was offered as a possible incentive. Other options included sewer and water work for development on plots that previously had a home on them. Mayor Jared Johnson questioned the cost of offering free dumpsters for development, citing it as a real cost to the city, rather than just lost revenue.


Speakman suggested a partnership with the Texoma Council of Governments to assist in transitioning programs for families moving from public housing to home ownership.


Mayor Pro Tem David Spindle asked if the properties could be used as rental homes instead of being sold. Both Speakman and City Manager Robert Hanna were uncertain about that possibility, with Speakman questioning what would be gained by making the properties rentals. Hanna was unsure if that could be done with current regulations regarding affordable housing projects.


"We can find a shoes to make that fit," said Hanna.


Before the council proceeds with any plans, Council member Ken Brawley said he wanted additional information on the number of properties that are vacant lots versus the number that may need some demolition.


Speakman said he didn’t feel there was any stigma connected to the project. "I think as a city we realize there is a real need for housing," he said.