Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

December 3, 2013

Newton paves way for 'affordable' housing

Jackson Adams
Effingham Daily News


Newton City Council unanimously approved rezoning 11 acres of land for affordable housing.

The area, south of the city just east of North 1200th Street outside of Newton, was purchased by Yost Management. The council approved shifting the zoning of the property from A-1 to MR-1, which would allow the area to be developed.

Jeremy Yost of Yost Management must now seek project approval from the Illinois Housing Development Authority.

"At this point, we've done everything that they've wanted us to do," said Mayor Mark Bolander.

The project, which would consist of 24 duplexes as well as recreation areas, a playground and a community building, would be available to families at competitive prices. Potential renters would have to go through a lengthy application process, including a criminal background test. The units would also be drug free with a zero tolerance policy for tenants.

Some local residents are concerned about possible problems with the project. Joe Bergbower, whose land borders the sold property, said he's concerned about children being injured on his property.

"There's a pond right north of there and you're going to tell me that those kids aren't going to fish or swim or something," he said. "I'm liable for that."

Bolander said despite some concerns among the community, he believes a potential affordable housing project would benefit Newton's economy.

"This is not a popularity contest," he said. "We're here to do what's right for our community as a whole."