We Are Speaking Up in Support of Needed Housing in Hiawassee, GA
This month, Neighbors for More Neighbors WNC and MountainTrue staff collaborated to evaluate and subsequently express full support for a proposed housing development for Hiawassee, GA. The project is called The Commons at Lake Chatuge, and it’s a development that would create the kind of homes we believe are needed for our communities to be healthy, to protect water quality, and prevent continued loss of our farms and forests due to sprawl development. Here are the reasons why we support these kinds of projects generally and also why The Commons specifically aligns with our goals:
- Location: By building homes within walking distance of grocery stores, restaurants, jobs, and town centers, we reduce daily vehicle miles traveled and our community’s carbon footprint. Additionally, building in or near our town centers relieves development pressure on surrounding farms and forests that we need for watershed protection, wildlife habitat, and carbon sequestration. The project site on Main Street, not far from the center of town — and with existing water and sewer access — is ideal placement and more fiscally responsible.
- Small size: This project would build homes of 700-1,100 square feet, which we support because smaller homes generate less stormwater runoff and require less energy to heat and cool. We also need smaller home options in our communities for working families or elderly residents who want to downsize.
- Variety: 21 of the homes are proposed to be townhomes or duplexes — a housing type that further increases energy efficiency by taking advantage of shared walls. While duplexes also represent a housing type that has been less commonly built in recent decades, they are a beneficial addition to a community’s housing stock and create different kinds of homes for people to choose from as their lives and needs change over time.
- Affordability: Because this developer is passionate about creating housing communities to serve the workforce, the sale price for all of these homes will be lower than would otherwise be possible on Hiawassee’s regular housing market. And through the company’s business model, 15 homes will have 25% lower pricing, making them even more affordable. Having more reasonably priced homes within a community helps maintain a community’s health and vibrancy by ensuring that a wider range of income earners can live and work there, filling critical positions in a community’s workforce.
MountainTrue has a long history of advocating for responsible growth across the region. Continuing that tradition, Neighbors for More Neighbors WNC is committed to supporting projects representing the kind of built environment that causes the least harm to our natural environment while also promoting healthy communities within which our families and neighbors can thrive. MountainTrue Western Regional Director Callie Moore spoke in support of the project at the City of Hiawassee Building & Planning Committee’s public hearing on Thursday, September 7, 2023. Stay tuned for project updates coming soon!