Small homes agreement lauded

By From page A12 | November 24, 2013

On Monday, Nov. 11, Choices for Healthy Aging leaders met with Ashley Feeney, vice president of The New Home Company. We hoped to reach an agreement to include small, single-story, detached homes in The Cannery.

We explained that large, two-story homes, even those designed with “livable” features and to be retrofitted with stair climbers/elevators, do not meet our needs. The disabled are not comfortable relying on an elevator to evacuate in a fire or other emergency. Younger people can “age in place,” but seniors or disabled need one-story, “move-in-ready” homes now.

We explained that the 30 lots sold at market rates to small builders require them to build larger, more profitable, two-story homes. We asked for lots set aside for 900- to 1,300-square-foot homes. Ashley was concerned this would create a marketing challenge for his company. But he looked at his plan book to see where these homes might be accommodated.

Two hours in, Ashley proposed that The New Home Company design house plans/construction drawings for small, single-story homes in the two areas we proposed, and provide virtual models in the sales office. We asked to work with the company to design the homes, and that a third neighborhood include the small home option. We all agreed. The next day, Debbie asked that one model home be built so small, single-story homes were on a par with other model homes. New Home agreed.

We were all pleased not only with our agreement, but with our process. It was a model of “win-win” negotiations. Because we all listened to each other respectfully, kept open minds and worked collaboratively, we ended up with a solution neither of us had anticipated.

Small, single-story, detached homes will be available in three sizes and three neighborhoods in The Cannery. The market will decide how many will be built. Even though The New Home Company knows it will earn less profit on these homes, it was willing to come to this agreement once it understood the community’s needs.

We thank Ashley and The New Home Company for their willingness to come in good faith to hear us out, and to accommodate what the community wanted. The Cannery offers many innovations for Davis.

Debbie Nichols Poulos, Mary Jo Bryan, Don Villarejo, Cindi Unger and John W. Poulos


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