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Bell County city hoping program brings more affordable housing to area

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 5:38 AM CDT
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NOLANVILLE, Texas (KWTX) - Nolanville wants to bring improvements and more affordable housing to one of its neighborhoods, and it has a new way to help that along.

The city just named the Woodlands area a Neighborhood Empowerment and Reinvestment Zone. Nolanville is hoping to improve the quality of life and housing in the area, and this is one step in the process

Escajeda said they decided to make the Woodlands the city’s first NEZ after updating their comprehensive plan. She said affordable housing was one of the priorities that came out of the update, and they hope the incentives encourage people to make improvements.

Now that the area is a NEZ, Nolanville said there are benefits for homeowners or developers who come in to the area. If people make improvements to increase the value of their home, they may be able to pay less property taxes.

There are also fee waivers for building permits, plat applications, demolition permit, board of adjustment application, zoning applications and other development fees.

The incentives aren’t just for current homeowners. City manager Kara Escajeda said there are incentives for developers to come and build affordable housing. Escajeda said if developers buy property with liens on it, they may not be responsible for paying them back.

The city said it has been making improvements to the area, including work on the park and improvements to roads, water and wastewater infrastructure. Escajeda said they want to see more affordable housing there.

“Everybody deserves to be able to go to a great school and to have a great park and you know this particular community has a lot of work that went into the park,” Escajeda said. “So those people that live there still have the right to have those kind of amenities, so we want to make sure it’s attainable for all income brackets.”

There are a wide range of improvements people can make to their home to get the incentives that come with the NEZ, including upgrading electrical wiring or making changes to make homes more energy efficient.

“A lot of their utility bills are greater than their rent, because it costs so much to heat and cool,” Escajeda said. “Then compounded with when you have a winter storm declaration and your pipes are freezing -- a lot of the things that we researched and tried to promote with them waving a permit is so that they weatherize their mobile homes”

The city said especially with this being a military community, there needs to be affordable housing available. If homeowners have any have any questions about the process, or would like to get more information, they can contact them at 254-698-6335 or cityhall@nolanvilletx.org.

There is also more information available online.

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