Residents glad city taking over lots in Lake Park

Residents glad city taking over lots in Lake Park
January 18
14:47 2018

Lake Park residents said they’re happy to see the City of Winston-Salem forgive a 1990 developer’s loan in exchange for acquiring 22 undeveloped lots in their subdivision.

In 1990, the City Council approved a $275,000 loan for Lake Park Development to build about 43 middle-income homes in East Winston. The loan, which had 0 percent interest for 25 years, was for public infrastructure improvements like water and sewer, decorative street lights and road construction.

Veronica Ford, along with her husband, Reginald, and their two young children, were the second family to move into Lake Park in 1992. During a meeting held for Lake Park residents last week, Ford said she wanted to make a commitment to East Winston by moving there.

“We are not wealthy, but we have been blessed,” she said. “We could have chosen to live anywhere that we wanted to, but we wanted to make an investment in East Winston and we have continued to be here.”

In the first 10 years, 18 lots were sold in Lake Park with only three more being sold after 2000. That leaves 22 undeveloped lots. At the developer’s request, the City Council voted on Tuesday to forgive the remaining $167,500 left on the loan in exchange for those undeveloped lots. Of the 22 lots, 20 are buildable, but 10 will require extensive site work. The lots total about 20.73 acres of land with an estimated value of $407,300.

The council agreed to the conditions in the original covenant with the developer, which puts requirements on newly built houses. For instance, a one-story house must be at least 1,700 square feet and a two-story house must be at least 2,000.

During last week’s resident’s meeting, Ford told city officials she was glad to hear that.

“I feel really good having come to this meeting,” she said “I’m looking forward to what I believe my elected officials and city staff are going to do to make Lake Park one of the best developments in Winston-Salem.”

The developer had changed the covenant to allow for smaller homes that were inconsistent with the development. Ward Miller, whose family was the first to move into Lake Park, said that’d been a source of concern and he’s glad to see the original covenant return.

“We have been wondering every time we have a meeting, what’s going to happen next, but you guys put us at ease and really make us feel better and I really appreciate it very much,” he said.

During last week’s City Council Finance Committee meeting, council members indicated they felt it was a good deal.

“I think we get back an asset that’s worth more than the money owed on the loan,” said City Council Member and Chronicle co-owner Derwin Montgomery, who represents the East Ward, which Lake Park is in.

He said the city will closely follow the wishes of the residents and keep future development in the subdivision consistent with what’s there today.

City Council Member Jeff MacIntosh, who is a Realtor, said while it is a cautionary tale on development, he estimated the city made more in annual city property tax on the homes within eight years than what was owed on the loan. He said since the undeveloped lots are heavily wooded, they won’t require much mowing and should have a low holding cost until they’re sold.

“This turned out to be a pretty good deal for the City of Winston-Salem,” said MacIntosh.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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