Fairview Estates: Subdivision targeted for NSP project

COVINGTON - Fairview Estates subdivision has been targeted by Newton County to benefit from Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds.

During a public hearing last Tuesday night, Senior Planner Scott Sirotkin said there are 150 existing houses in the subdivision, located off Fairview Road, and more than 20 houses and several vacant lots are under foreclosure.

Phase two of the project, which encompasses 18 acres, is also undeveloped and has been foreclosed, he said.

The county will use the $1.74 million it is receiving from the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program to acquire and redevelop some vacant homes in Fairview Estates, as well as the phase two property, where a community park will be created.

The county will not acquire occupied properties, which are subject to the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act that would require the county to help displaced families find temporary housing, Sirotkin said.

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program was created by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, which is being administered on the state level by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

The money available to local governments can be used to demolish and redevelop blighted properties and for non-residential purposes, such as the creation of parks.

Properties must be purchased at an average of 15 percent below market value. Properties must be sold at or below the cost of redevelopment to prevent the county from making a profit. The funds must be obligated within 18 months of receipt.

Properties can be purchased directly by the county, through a land-bank or through a nonprofit organization or a development authority.

According to Sirotkin, there were 823 foreclosed properties in the county in 2008. In addition, 28 percent of mortgages are financed by subprime loans, the second highest rate in Georgia.

Fairview Estates was selected because the percentage of foreclosures is so high, Sirotkin said.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.