The local chapter of Habitat for Humanity will be allowed to divide its land to build more homes.
Habitat Westside had requested a zoning change and parcel split of land at 537, 543 and 547 M Street. The change allows Habitat officials to build four homes on the property rather than three.
The Los Banos City Council approved the project last week.
“They do a good job,” said Assistant Planner Stacy Elms of Habitat Westside projects. “The goal is they are giving home ownership. Studies show that home ownership improves test scores in school. People take pride in their property and it improves the neighborhoods.”
Ned Ryan, a Habitat Westside member and former executive director, said a portion of the land will keep its highway commercial zoning designation to allow the current owner to use it for their business. He said there will be plenty of room for a home on the remainder of the land.
“They have a metal building on that part of the parcel. The idea was for them to retain ownership of that building for their own use. We can rehab the dwelling on the front part of the property. We would essentially buy the new smaller lot with the dwelling,” Ryan said.
Mayor Mike Villalta said he is thrilled about the project because he assisted in helping Habitat obtain the property.
“I’m excited about this project because about two years ago a lady walked in the shop and she says ‘I have a lot.’ I said ‘what do you want to do with it?’ She said, ‘I’d like to donate it,’ and I said I have the perfect person to give it to,” Villalta recounted. “It’s going to work out well.”
Habitat Westside has built or rehabilitated homes for more than 20 families since it was founded in 1997. Habitat Westside is finishing renovations at the 537 M St. address and will hold an open house and dedication ceremony for the home April 18 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Habitate Westside plans to start building its next home in May. Ryan said he believes it will take about a year to complete the four-home project.