Residents voice concerns about Hayden plan’s effect on schools


Last updated 3/1/2005 at Noon

Jim Mitchell

A packed house awaited representatives of Hayden Homes in a meeting last week to discuss development plans.

Local residents are concerned about the impact of some 400 new homes on Sisters schools.

About 50 Sisters residents attended a public presentation of Hayden Homes’ plans for a 400-unit residential development in Northwest Sisters on Thursday, February 24. The impact of the development on Sisters schools was the top concern for those at themeeting.

Eileen Obermiller, landscape architect with the firm Otak, and Dave Cady, Director of Land Development, led the Hayden presentation.

Cady presented home designs in the 1,000- to 2,400-square-foot range on 40- to 60-foot wide lots. Selling prices are expected to range from $200,000 to over $300,000, depending on lot size and home design.

After a discussion of local housing costs, Cady said that Hayden was trying to come in under the price point of the nearby Park Place development. But local Realtors agreed that it was a difficult price point to meet.

Local Realtor Bill Reed said, “The scarcity of land and the high lot prices we have — it’s tough to bring houses in at an affordable price point.”

Others pointed out that $200,000 was not exactly a low-income, beginning homeowner’s price point. The City of Sisters Comprehensive Plan has set a goal of 10 percent low-income housing, but that is an overall goal and does not apply to individual developments.

One resident at the meeting asked, “Would you ever consider donating any development fees to the city for new school construction?”

Cady’s response was, “It’s not allowed in the state of Oregon.”

The question was repeated a little differently: “But couldn’t you give something to the schools?” Somebody suggested the “Sisters Hayden School Foundation.”

Obermiller replied, “There’s a whole balancing act that we’re doing here. How do you get a somewhat affordable product given the requirements that you have?” She was interrupted by several members of the audience with comments that included, “There’s going to be a tremendous profit.” Another called out, “A huge profit.”

Finally Cady replied, “We’ll take it into consideration.” Then he said, “We’ve put a lot of money into looking at creating activities for kids and a nice open space, too.”

Another member of the audience allowed that the only other option for school financing was another school bond issue. After back and forth discussion about the role of the state in schools and other school issues, a member of the audience offered, “This is an opportunity for you. The schools are a big deal for this community.”

Cady responded, “I heard that loud and clear.”

When asked to explain how the construction and sale of these homes will be a net contribution to the local economy, Hayden personnel responded, “Everybody will have an open opportunity to bid. We evaluate everybody.”

Cady added, “We are a Central Oregon company and we are here to support the local economy. I’m a patron of Sisters constantly.”

He added, “Our real estate does co-op. We do work with other agents. We have internal agents, but they are all local people here.”

This is contrary to Hayden’s previous statement that they are the developers, builders and sellers.

The Hayden application is available at City Hall.


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