Hillsboro: Container houses to wait
A housing developer who wants to put container homes north of 3rd St. in Hillsboro will face a longer moratorium than the 60 days announced Feb. 1 by city council members.
The city’s planning and zoning commission isn’t finished developing an overlay district for alternative housing.
Hillsboro city council members discussed planners’ recommendation to extend the moratorium and developer Felix Ramirez’s apparent reaction to having to wait longer than anticipated.
Mayor Lou Thurston said Ramirez told planners March 31 that delays cost money. Planners reportedly asked him if whether wanted the overlay done right or not done at all.
“In order to enact a new zoning district, the planning commission has to provide public notice, host a public hearing, and make a formal request to the city council,” city administrator Matt Stiles said.
After that, council members would review the proposal May 2 and decide whether to adopt an ordinance.
Stiles said Ramirez, owner of Kansas Home Solutions, was eager to move forward and had made several comments about delays costing him money.
Stiles told council members it was critical that the planning process is done correctly.
Stiles said the overlay would apply not just to shipping-container houses, but also to “barn-dominiums,” straw-bale houses, and other alternative-construction houses.
Planners will have a public hearing at the end of April. Stiles suggested that the moratorium be left a little “open ended” in case all does not move as expected.
Council members voted to extend the moratorium until the overlay can be completed.
Meanwhile, work to build a bathroom at a downtown community plaza will move forward after council members approved the project.
Vogt’s Construction estimated the cost at $153,281, but lead time needed for HVAC equipment is eight to ten weeks, Stiles said. That could mean the bathroom could take until mid-summer to complete.
Quickly rising prices led council members to approve as much as $190,000 for the work.