New project offers affordable housing

Novato Advance  Wednesday, November 20, 1985


Novato Ecumenical Housing.

 Novato Ecumenical housing began marketing an unusual — and record breaking — housing project this month.

Skylark Meadows, located at Alameda Del Prado and Cielo Lane, sets a California record because 19 of Its 37 units are affordable to low-income households.

No ownership housing development with both market-rate and below-market-rate units has ever come close to making such a high percentage of its units affordable to low-income households.

The marketing of Skylark marks a significant breakthrough in affordable housing. In July, the average sales price of a home in Marin was $200,000. This means few teachers, policemen, firemen. clerks, etc. can afford to own a Marin home. Many of these people look for homes in Sonoma County. in 1970 the average daily traffic that crossed the Marin-Sonoma County line was 31,000. Last year, that number was up to 58,000.

Young, starting families find it almost impossible to qualify top~. chase a home in Marin. Consequently, families with children arc becoming a rarity in Marin. Since 1970, Marin’s average household size dropped 18 percent.

Skylark is one attempt to reverse that trend. Beginning with architect Mike Moyer, winner of California’s 1981 Affordable housing Design Competition, Skylark has retained high quality and affordability. Every inch of Skylark has been done in premium exterior redwood siding — even the signage is in redwood.

Edible and native landscaping. which uses only about 40 percent of  water consumed by traditional residential project plantings, covers the ground.

And, though an initial design concept called for electric resistance heating, which is cheaper and easier for the developer to install, NEHs final choice was to create an all-gas project. As a result, the homeowners’ operating costs are likely to be cut in half.

All 37 Skylark units have active solar water heating designed to provide about 70 percent of the domestic hot water load.

In addition to reducing energy costs for residents. Skylark is NEH’s small effort to ease Highway 101 gridlock.

In setting a state record, NEIL hopes to use this as a flagship for other affordable housing projects that will provide homes to families who are the working backbone of a community.

We hope that these families, instead of spending tedious hours on  an air-polluting freeway commute will Jive near where they work.

Few projects in Marin offer 608 to 1,3)0 square feet of premium housing, with market values ranging from $78,500 to $114,950. Fewer yet offer first-time homebuyers 10.5 percent fixed rate 30-year Marin County Bond financing. None, that we know of, offer two- year interest buydowns on the first 10 two-bedroom units sold.

This means that the interest rate in year one Is only 8.5 percent. In year two It increases to 9.5 percent and is fixed thereafter at 10.5 percent for the remaining 28 years.

Novato Ecumenical Housing is especially interested in offering Skylark units to families of three with incomes of about $24,750, and families of four with incomes of about $27,500.

For more information about buying at Skylark, call 892-8136 or 454-9900.

Contractor Rick Timmer (left), Clark Blasdell and Dwayne Hunn looked over Skylark Meadows plans shortly before the development was completed.  Skylark units went on sale this month.


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