- Associated Press - Saturday, April 15, 2017

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. (AP) - The southern Arizona city of Casa Grande is taking steps to address problems associated with thousands of unfinished lots, which are often known as “zombie developments,” where construction came to a standstill after the housing market collapsed.

The city Planning and Zoning Commission is seeking a change to city code that extends the amount of time developers have to complete streets, sidewalks and water and sewer systems from three to five years, The Casa Grande Dispatch reported (https://bit.ly/2pjythz).

Once roads and sidewalks are completed, they become the city’s responsibility to maintain and repair, even if they aren’t being used.

City officials say the proposed code amendment will help relieve some of the financial pressure that has been placed on the city, where there are nearly 6,000 unfinished lots.

“It’s a win-win for the city because we don’t have to worry about maintaining the roads and sidewalks until they are being used; it releases the money back to the developer and in the end should bring home prices down once they do begin to be sold,” said Paul Tice, the director of planning and development.

The city will release some of the current guarantees that it holds on unfinished subdivisions in hopes that it will get developers and builders to begin working the land again, Tice said.

One zombie development was recently taken down. Three single-family homes that were built in an unfinished subdivision have been demolished at the city’s request. The properties had become unsightly with broken windows and deteriorating exteriors, Tice said.

The commission’s proposal will be reviewed by the City Council.


Information from: Casa Grande Dispatch.

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