Habitat's new plans will touch Norlina

Mar. 04, 2013 @ 08:42 PM

A new subdivision will be opening soon on the northern boundary of Norlina.

Warren County Habitat for Humanity will hold a ground breaking at 11 a.m. on Friday to kick-off development of Northwood Community at 516 Walker Avenue.

The ground-breaking will mark the beginning of work to prepare the site for eight homes.

The project is the result of a collaboration that overcame several stumbling blocks.

The first issue was finding land for a new development. According to Bruce Rogers, president of Warren Habitat, that problem was solved when Cedar Creek Land Company donated a tract on the outskirts of Norlina.

“They buy large parcels of land and then divide them up for resale,” Rogers said. “This parcel was too expensive for their purposes, so they donated almost four acres to us. It provided us with free land.”

Another hurdle was providing infrastructure for the subdivision.

“Norlina got a grant from the federal government to rework their water and sewer system,” Rogers said. That took care of part of the problem.

David Apps, a Habitat volunteer, said, “Project Energy has agreed to supply power to the homes.”

The town of Norlina plans to install street lighting, he added.

With those agreements, Habitat was ready to move forward in preparing the site.

“We have signed a contract with Harris Equipment for clearing and grading the site,” Apps said.

Overseeing much of the process has been David Camacho, of Double Eagle Realty and Construction Company.

Rogers said, “The project was initiated by Habitat. Then we handed the ball to David and he ran for a touchdown.”

As a general contractor, Camacho was familiar with the process of getting deeds cleared and property ready for construction.

“I looked at what they had in the way of surveys and talked to the Norlina folks, the Progress Energy folks, the DOT folks,” Camacho said. “It’s what I’d done on other projects for profit.”

Camacho’s time on the Habitat project is voluntary.

“It came at a time when business was slow because of the poor housing market,” he said. “I was glad to keep my skills sharp.”

Once the site is ready, Habitat hopes to begin construction of a new home. The organization is looking for an individual or family to become the first homeowner in the Northwood Community. The prospective homeowner must agree to provide 350 hours of labor by family, relatives and friends to work alongside volunteers in building the home.

On the finance side, the family can get a boost through a no-interest mortgage provided by Habitat.

Families interested in applying can pick up the forms at the Norlina Town Hall or at the Habitat ReStore on U.S. 158 in Macon.

Habitat finances the mortgage through proceeds from the ReStore. The store accepts donated usable items, anything from a toaster oven to a davenport to a washing machine, and sells them at half the price a person might pay elsewhere, Rogers said. The organization also accepts donations.

Habitat has built up a large enough fund to finance a house with a no-interest loan. As the loan is repaid, the funds can be loaned to another homebuyer.

A typical Habitat home costs about $50,000 and contains about 1,200 square feet of floor space, Rogers said. The assessed value will be about $85,000.

Warren County Habitat is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit Christian ecumenical housing ministry that partners with homeowners and volunteers to build affordable homes for families that don’t qualify for conventional financing.

Rogers pointed out that the organization is staffed completely by volunteers.

“We have no paid employees,” he said. “We don’t pay mileage or telephone bills.” Therefore, all their proceeds can go toward construction and financing the homes they build.


Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.