Modular housing development could be a game changer for Neepawa

Reprinted with permission from The Neepawa Banner & Press, Friday, November 26, 2021
Author: Eoin Devereux

It has the potential to be one of the most significant additions to Neepawa’s housing market in decades. As reported in the Nov. 19 edition of the Banner & Press (Plan for modular home development in Neepawa takes a step forward), the Town of Neepawa will be negotiating with Crescent Creek Estates to set forth in writing the terms and conditions for this major development near the water tower. Once all criteria have been established, the 40 acres of land located just west of Highway #5 North could potentially consist of up to 144 individual lots, where modular built homes could be installed. A modular home is a house that’s partially constructed in a factory and then shipped to the lot, where it’s placed on a permanent foundation. The homes would be at least 1,000 square feet in size, in full accordance with the Town of Neepawa Zon-ing By-Law as administered by the Neepawa Area Planning District.

On Tuesday, Nov. 16, Council gave second read-ing to amend the zoning by-law for the proposal. However, before third reading is passed, the Town and Crescent Creek must come to an agreement on what would be required by both sides.

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An explanation

Under the authority of The Planning Act, a municipality is given opportunities to impose conditions for development. In this particular instance, the style of development will not in-volve a housing sub-division in the traditional sense. As a result, the only opportunity to set forth the terms of development will be prior to third reading of the zoning by-law amendment. Unlike the development of the C.N. property, which proceeded through a process of sub-division, this property will remain as one parcel under the care and control of the owner, in this case, Crescent Creek Estates. Therefore, all requirements for the paying of property taxes on an annual basis to the Town of Neepawa would be handled directly by Crescent Creek, who would collect them from their homeowners.

As well, the construction and ongoing maintenance of the roads within the development would be the responsibility of Crescent Creek. Among other things, the Town will negotiate with the developer the cost of installing the utilities to property line, with the developer responsible for installing the services within the development (to the Town’s specifications). Ac-cess roads will be designed to meet community needs and align with existing infrastructure in a fashion that will not compromise safety or pose concerns for adjacent provincial roads.

Colleen Synchyshyn, the chief administrative officer for the Town of Neepawa, explained to the Banner & Press why all of those negotiations must be looked after now, before third reading of the zoning by-law.

“We have an opportunity to ask for several things under section 150 of the Planning Act. There are certain periods of time in a development, where you can as a municipality, ask for certain criteria to be met to make sure that services are installed and development costs are being paid for,” stated Synchyshyn. “We have to get all of our requests in place right now, in a development agreement, to make sure that as the development of the parcel proceeds, other property owners and residents of Neepawa are not burdened with subsidizing development.”

A great opportunity for Neepawa

Neepawa mayor Blake McCutcheon said there are still several discussions that are needed to ensure both sides are happy with the deal. He remained optimistic, however, that this could be mutually beneficial.

“That’s a significant development and the Town is really excited that [Crescent Creek Estates] is interested in doing this,” McCutcheon indicated. “This could be a great opportunity for so many retirees and new families.”

Currently, there is no set timeline for third reading of the by-law to take place. If the proposal from Crescent Creek does receive full approval, it would be a four phase project with a start time of late spring or early summer in 2022.

The sale and overall attitude towards modular homes has grown in positive ways over the past few years across Manitoba, as this style of housing is seen as an affordable option for budget-conscious home-buyers and retirees, looking to downsize.

Benefits of factory built housing

So you’ve decided to build the home of your dreams and now comes the daunting task of drafting a layout, hiring a contractor, getting a construction crew in place, and figuring out all the other things you need to do to build your home.