Incentives to help housing expansion in Dodge City

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DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — The tight housing market in Dodge City is poised to ease a bit for potential buyers and renters following a pair of policy decisions that could make the southwest Kansas community more attractive to developers.

The City Commission recently approved the use of the state’s rural housing incentive program for two large projects adding 197 rental and owner-occupied units. One of the projects also received requested zoning changes that clear the way for building new homes.

That project — the fifth phase of the Summerlon development — will consist of 65 duplex, quadplex and triplex owner-occupied homes that are expected to sell for between $140,000 and $160,000.

Also on the drawing board is the Prairie Point apartment complex, which will have 132 two-bedroom apartments in 11 buildings. Rents are expected to range from $700 to $900 a month at the complex, being built by a development company based in the Lenexa, Kan., community of Lenexa.

The rural housing incentive program aids developers by diverting the difference in property taxes between existing land and a finished project toward infrastructure expenses, such as water, gas, sewer and electricity extensions and hookups.

“Cost of infrastructure is one of the issues that has caused us a delay in developing housing,” City Manager Cherise Tieben said.

Without the incentive programs, developers have to roll the cost of infrastructure into the bottom line, which prices developers out of what the market can bear.

The units reflect significant growth in the city’s tight housing market, which has driven up ownership and rental costs. But they are priced beyond the means of many manufacturing workers and young professionals — a difficult gap to fill in western Kansas.

City leaders hope development at the mid- to upper end of the local spectrum will loosen the lower-priced market.

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