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Realtors say there are enough houses for troops
People involved in the real estate business in the area say there is enough housing for the 10,000 or so people coming with the addition of a brigade to troops at Fort Stewart. - photo by Courier file photo
The city council spent most of Thursday afternoon reviewing and approving development plans as the city continues to bulk up housing in preparation for the 10,000 new residents slated to arrive with the 5th BCT in 2010, only 20 percent of whom will be housed on post.
Regarding housing, the council approved many planning and zoning requests.
The first request, from Thomas and Hutton Engineering, concerned plans for an apartment complex consisting of 222 units. The complex will offer 78 one-bedroom units, 120 two-bedroom units, and 24 three-bedroom units. It will be located south of Marne Boulevard and the units will range from 807 to 1,409 square feet.
Representatives from Thomas and Hutton also requested approval for the second phase of Independence Place on the East side of 15th Street. The second phase will consist of 13 three-story buildings for a total of 312 apartments.
Another development likely to help house soldiers was approved after a request from Carol Guyett to rezone about nine acres of land on Live Oak Church Road, which is currently a mobile home park. She said the neighborhood will consist of about 30 homes at prices around $160,000.
Despite the approvals, some residents still question whether there will be adequate housing. Realtors, however, seem optimistic.
According to Brandon Boyce, president of Hinesville’s Board of Realtors, there currently are 704 houses available in Liberty County and Ludowici. He said if Bryan County is included, the number jumps to 1,200.
“And that includes any for sale by owners and new construction,” Boyce said.
Realtor Alan Brown said he’s working with Fort Stewart officials to monitor the number of houses needed and the number of people scheduled to arrive. He said he’s confident the city will be able to handle the growth.
“We’ll work through it and I don’t think it will be a problem,” Brown said. “We’re a resilient community and have lots of intelligent people working on it.”
He said realtors have been able to prepare because Fort Stewart has produced arrival schedules and lists of pay grades to ensure proper housing for all soldiers and their families.
Brown also said that it’s a tough balancing act and there are no guarantees or reliable numbers just yet, but they are constantly working to reach an agreement.
“One of the worst things that could happen is to have too many houses,” Brown said. “It would be bad for our local economy and for the soldiers who then had to try and sell their house later.”
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