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‘Pioneers’ of affordable housing dub new road name

Fawn Valley is seen here under construction in April. (Enterprise photo — Lauren Yates)

LAKE PLACID — New homeowners who will soon move into the Fawn Valley housing development on Wesvalley Road have named the roadway that will wind through their subdivision Pioneer Lane, in recognition of what they see as their place in Lake Placid’s emerging affordable housing market.

The North Elba Town Council on Tuesday approved the new road name after Essex County officials deemed the name acceptable. Now, according to town Councilor Emily Kilburn Politi, the county can move forward with establishing numbers for the houses.

Kilburn Politi, who is also a board trustee of the Homestead Development Corporation, the local nonprofit responsible for building Fawn Valley, recused herself from Tuesday’s vote.

Fawn Valley will have a total of 22 units once it’s complete — six single-family, two-bedroom Cape Cod-style homes and 16 two-bedroom townhomes that will be located within four buildings. Two of the six single-family modular homes are expected to arrive this month, according to HDC President Steve Sama, with another two coming in September and the last two expected to arrive in October.

While trying to come up with a road name for the subdivision along with Sama, Kilburn Politi said they decided to contact the new homeowners of the six single-family homes to get their feedback. The email discussion brought the new homeowners together for the first time, and Kilburn Politi said they were excited to meet.

The homeowners came up with a few ideas for road names, though Pioneer Lane proved most popular with both the homeowners and county officials. Kilburn Politi said the homeowners connected the name with the idea that they’re pioneers in Lake Placid’s recent efforts to address the local affordable housing crisis.

The Fawn Valley units don’t technically qualify as “affordable.” A 2020 housing needs assessment found Lake Placid and North Elba to be in need of 1,534 “workforce and affordable level” housing units — with most of the units needed for people who make less than $35,150 per year — with a target “affordable” home price at around $123,000. The Fawn Valley units are being sold at cost and will be deed restricted to prevent them from being used as short-term vacation rentals. The single-family homes are estimated to cost around $220,000 and the townhomes are estimated to cost around $180,000 per unit.

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