Fawn Valley units set aside for healthcare, school workers

LAKE PLACID — Eight housing units being built at a Lake Placid housing development next year will be set aside for current or prospective staff from the Lake Placid Central School District and Adirondack Health-run hospitals.

The Fawn Valley development on Wesvalley Road 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. Homestead Development Corporation, the nonprofit developer behind Fawn Valley, has decided to reserve eight of those townhomes for people working in the local school district and hospitals — four units for LPCSD staff and four units for people working at the two Adirondack Health-run hospitals in Lake Placid and Saranac Lake, according to HDC President Steve Sama.

Fawn Valley is being built with full-time Lake Placid residents and essential workers in mind. And while the development isn’t considered “affordable” for local populations that have the greatest need for housing, according to standards outlined in a 2020 housing needs assessment of Lake Placid and North Elba, the Fawn Valley units are being sold at cost and they’ll be deed restricted, so they always remain owner occupied and are never used as a short-term vacation rental. Fawn Valley’s single-family homes are estimated to cost around $220,000 and the townhomes are estimated to cost around $180,000 per unit.

LPCSD Superintendent Timothy Seymour sits on the HDC board, and he said HDC’s mission to provide housing for local, essential workers aligns with the mission of the school district. He said that many district programs, like the new community schools program, are fueled by a mission of fostering sustainable communities.

“Having a reliable source of housing that supports that ideal is integral to the progress we’re all trying to make together,” Seymour said.

This summer, Seymour said there were a few “viable” candidates seeking jobs in the district who ultimately chose not to continue with their application process because of the lack of local housing.

“It’s a very real and ongoing problem,” he said.

Seymour hopes that the Fawn Valley units set aside for LPCSD will offer some more possibilities for prospective staff when the district approaches its hiring process next year. The housing could either go to current staff in the district or to prospective staff.

Fawn Valley’s six modular homes are being assembled this fall — Sama was in the process of assembling the third home on Wednesday — and Sama said the first townhomes are expected to become available by August 2023, in time for the 2023-24 school year. Sama said HDC has already fielded a lot of interest in the townhomes — 35 applications have been submitted, and many of those are from LPCSD and Adirondack Health staff.

Fawn Valley is doing more for LPCSD than providing homes for district staff. Seymour said the development is also providing jobs to Lake Placid school students enrolled in the BOCES Building Trades program. HDC needed some help assembling its modular homes, according to Seymour, and the district has arranged for its students in the Building Trades program to work at Fawn Valley and get paid to assemble the homes that some LPCSD staff will ultimately live in.

“It’s a full-circle educational experience,” he said. “It’s pretty ideal.”

Sama said that while HDC is talking about the prospect of future housing projects, the talk is “just intention at this point.” However, he said some people have expressed interest in helping HDC secure land for other projects.

“There’s definitely a buzz, and there’s definitely a need,” he said.


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