Letter from the Mayor: February 2023
Letter from the Mayor: February 2023
January 26, 2023
Recently the City has received several requests from developers to transition properties previously zoned for single-family residential development to zoning for duplex or multi-family housing developments. Regardless of the outcome of these projects, with the increase in construction costs and the extremely high price of land in Nixa – combined with the continuing desire of people to move to our community – more and more developers will look to bring projects that have a denser footprint to Nixa.
Nixa’s Comprehensive Plan, the document that guides City Planners and those who choose to develop in Nixa, caps multi-family zoning at no more that 20% of total residential land. Nixa is currently at approximately 9%, including undeveloped land across the City. Over the last 10 years, builders have added almost 2,000 new single-family homes in Nixa. In that same time, only 207 new apartment units have been added, including those currently under construction.
Multi-family housing in a suburban community can provide a number of benefits for both residents and the community as a whole. One of the main advantages is increased density, which can lead to more efficient use of land and resources. This can be particularly beneficial in areas like Nixa where land is scarce or expensive, as it allows more people to live in a given area without having to expand the physical footprint of the community.
Another benefit of multi-family housing is that it increases the diversity of housing options available. Nixa is primarily composed of single-family homes, which can limit the types of residents who can afford to live here. Multi-family housing can provide more affordable options for people who may not be able to afford a single-family home, such as teachers, police officers, young professionals, students, young families and retirees. This can lead to a more diverse and inclusive community.
I can definitely understand the preference by neighbors, when there has always been open field near your neighborhood, to enjoy that natural setting and hope the land continues undeveloped. I do not understand or accept when a multi-family project is proposed and neighbors put forth the argument that they don’t want “those people” moving into the area. We all understand what that means. When my family moved to Nixa in 1979, we lived in a trailer for 3 years. When I came back from college, I lived in the Pheasant Run apartments near Wal-Mart. I was “those people”. Our Economic Development experts and small businesses tell us our community needs more affordable housing in Nixa to provide for their workforce needs. I believe we need to continue to keep Nixa open to all residents who can contribute to the betterment of the community.
One more argument I submit for your consideration. As a government, the City should provide the least possible limitations on a property owner. We do need zoning, comprehensive planning and reasonable building codes, and yet we need to try as hard as possible not to limit the freedom of the property owners to do what is within those guidelines, just as we would not want the government to limit what we do with our homes and property.
While there are certainly challenges that come with the development of multi-family housing, the benefits it can provide are numerous. From increasing density and providing more affordable housing options, to reducing environmental impact and stimulating economic growth, multi-family housing will continue to play an important role in keeping Nixa a vibrant and inclusive community.
Mayor Brian Steele