Rochelle offers new program to encourage more people to build new homes

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ROCHELLE (WREX) — In Rochelle, you’ll find rail and a historic downtown. But, what some leaders say you might have a hard time pin pointing is housing.

“For the past 10 years, we’ve probably only built maybe two to three houses a year,” Michelle Pease, the community development director for the city of Rochelle says.

That’s why it launched its new housing initiative program.

Rochelle says if you want to build a new home in that city, it’ll waive your building permit and hook-up fees.

“That’s about $1,100 they can waive those fees for an individual,” Pease says.

It will also waive the city’s portion of your tax bill for 2018, 2019 and 2020. That means if your home is worth $150,000, you would save $519 each year.

“You would come in with your tax bill and you would show proof of payment and that that’s been completed and then the city would rebate the city’s portion back to the homeowner,” Pease says.

The Rockford Association of Area Realtors says adding new homes is exactly how to solve the region’s housing shortage problem because the number of house for sale is limited.

“People are kind of scrambling so it gives people the opportunity to go in and pick out everything from the flooring to the cabinets that they like whatever it is,” Conor Brown the CEO of the Rockford Association of Area Realtors says.

Brown helped develop a similar program in Rockford. In that, the city and Rockford Public School District waived its portion of your tax bill. However, he says it turned out 17 homes in 2016 and 2017.

“It did meet some mild success,” Brown says. “Was it overwhelming? No.”

But, Rochelle leaders say their housing shortage problem is one that needs to be dealt with now. It hopes this program will draw more people into the Hub City and keep them there.

Rochelle says its also trying to work with the park district and school district to become part of that program.

For more information about the program, call 815-562-8717.

Andi TenBarge

Andi TenBarge

Reporter

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