Fawn Valley townhomes to go up for sale

After months on hold while waiting for state approval of development’s HOA, 16 new townhomes will go up for sale

Seen here on Thursday, the 16 townhomes at Fawn Valley each have two bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms, a basement and a porch. Built in four buildings containing four units each, the townhomes are arranged around a shared backyard. (Enterprise photo — Sydney Emerson)

LAKE PLACID — Sixteen new townhomes are now on the market in Lake Placid, more than three years after the Fawn Valley housing project was first announced by local developer Homestead Development Corporation.

The 22-unit housing development is located on Pioneer Lane, off of Wesvalley Road. Aside from the 16 townhomes, the development also has six cape-style homes, which were completed in 2023 and are now all sold and occupied.

State approval of the development’s homeowners association came through on May 10, the final layer of authorization needed to allow Homestead to put these new townhomes on the market. This approval signals a significant milestone for a housing development spurred more than three years ago amid a years-long affordable housing crisis. This crisis, exacerbated in the last decade by the explosion of the online vacation rental market, now impacts nearly every aspect of life here, from school enrollment to the size of the labor market.

Fawn Valley’s townhomes are intended to be owned and occupied by people who find themselves priced out of purchasing a home in the community they serve. To be eligible to purchase one of the townhomes, a potential buyer’s total household gross annual income must be less than 200% of area median income. For a two-member household, 200% AMI is $130,000. For a four-member household, 200% AMI is $162,400.

Eight of the units have been set aside for employees of the Lake Placid Central School District and Adirondack Health.

Aside from the 16 townhomes, Fawn Valley also includes six cape-style, single-family homes, which were completed and sold in early 2023. (Enterprise photo — Sydney Emerson)

The resale price of units will also be deed-restricted to either 25% of growth and appreciation or a 2% increase from the home’s purchase price each year, whichever is less. Under the first formula, a $200,000 home appraised at $300,000 upon resale could be offered at a maximum $225,000. Under the second formula, a $200,000 home resold 10 years after purchase could be offered at a maximum $220,000.

Emily Kilburn Politi, Homestead’s program manager and a North Elba Town Council member, said that the resale restrictions ensure home prices “don’t escalate beyond what people can afford.”

“(The restrictions) allow people to have a return on their investment but also allow that first-time home buyer or essential worker to come in,” she said, adding that if the townhome prices kept pace with area trends, Homestead’s “intended market” would be rapidly priced out.

Aside from an ever-shrinking stock of quality housing, the gap between a family’s average income and the average cost of a home is what primarily prevents people in the North Country from being able to purchase a home. Megan Murphy, executive director of local housing nonprofit Adirondack Roots, told the Enterprise in December that the gap between the average annual family income and the average cost of a house in Essex County is around $80,000.

The townhomes are all two stories and 880 square feet, with two bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms and a basement. Built in four groups of four townhomes and arranged in a horseshoe shape around a shared backyard, end units will be on the market for $200,000 and interior units for $190,000.

Homestead is putting finishing touches on the homes, according to a press release. Buyers are expected to be able to move in as early as June. An open house is scheduled for May 23 from 5 to 6 p.m.

Aside from typical application questions, Homestead’s Fawn Valley application also asks potential buyers to share if they’re an essential worker, how they volunteer in and engage with their community and why they want to live in Fawn Valley.

Kilburn Politi said that Homestead has received so much interest in the townhomes that the corporation did not need to contract any real estate agents to market the homes. After the 16 homes are sold, Homestead hopes to still continually accept applications and built a waitlist to make the resale process easier.

“Our goal is to have an active waiting list of people who are waiting for (the homes),” Kilburn Politi said.

Homestead had to form a homeowners association to enforce deed restrictions on resale prices and buyers’ household gross AMI. Though the townhomes have been nearing completion for months, Homestead was unable to start offering the homes for sale until state officials approved the development’s HOA. Approval came through last week.

“We are thrilled to have reached this pivotal moment in our journey,” said Steve Sama, president of Homestead Development Corp, in a statement. “The state’s approval of our offering plan literally opens doors for individuals and families seeking quality, attainable housing options in our community.”

Fawn Valley received approval from the Lake Placid-North Elba Joint Review Board in March 2021 and the Adirondack Park Agency in July 2021. Homestead worked with Simplex Homes, a modular home builder based in Pennsylvania, on Fawn Valley. Future Homestead projects are also slated to be designed by Simplex. Construction on the cape-style homes started soon after, and all six were completed and sold for $220,000 each in early 2023, as they are not a part of the HOA and did not have to wait for state approval.

Fawn Valley was among a wave of new housing developments proposed in Lake Placid in the leadup to the 2023 Winter World University Games and following a 2020 housing needs assessment study, which said that with a target of 50% of the local workforce living within the community, North Elba and Lake Placid have a need for roughly 1,534 “workforce and affordable level” housing units — the majority, 1,013 units, for those who make less than $35,150 per year. Other developments included the MacKenzie Overlook development and the Peaks at Lake Placid development, the latter of which has not come to fruition.

For more information about Fawn Valley, including townhome applications and AMI calculations, visit homesteadadk.org/fawn-valley.

Future projects

With Fawn Valley near completion, Homestead is setting its sights on two more projects. The first, the Helping Hands Community Hub, is slated for a review board public hearing on June 5. The hub, which is planned for the former site of LPCSD’s basketball courts next to the Shipman Youth Center, will be a combined home for the Lake Placid Ecumenical Food Pantry and the shuttered Helping Hands Thrift Shop. Simplex is manufacturing the prefabricated building, which will go up over the summer and open in the fall, pending review board approval.

Homestead presented its next housing development to the review board in February. Fox Hill, located off Algonquin Drive, will be a community of 22 single-family homes — no townhomes. Sama said at a Feb. 21 review board meeting that Homestead hopes to avoid the drawn-out HOA approval process that held up sales at Fawn Valley by only constructing single-family homes at Fox Hill. Even without the HOA, Fox Hill will have similar deed restrictions to Fawn Valley, which will be enforced by Homestead itself.

Fox Hill will need the approval of the review board and APA before construction can begin.


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