Carpentersville approves plans for 28-home Habitat for Humanity subdivision

Carpentersville approves plans for 28-home Habitat for Humanity subdivision

Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley has received the village of Carpentersville’s blessing to build a 28-home subdivision, with 13 of the new houses generating net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

“I think this will be the largest Habitat for Humanity subdivision in Illinois,” said Barbara Beckman, executive director for the Northern Fox Valley organization.

A year in the planning process, this week’s approval of the Carter Crossing subdivision — named for former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, longtime Habitat volunteers — clears the way for construction to begin on the $10 million, multiyear project at Oxford Drive and Kings Road, Beckman said.

Work will be done in phases, with seven homes scheduled for construction each year, she said. Each will be sold to a family in need of affordable housing.

Traditionally, Habitat has built homes wherever it could purchase property, Beckman said. However, the organization — which relies in part on donated labor and supplies and sweat equity from home recipients — found it better from a construction standpoint to focus on groups of homes in the same location, she said.

Habitat recently built nine homes that way in Crystal Lake and and another five on Skyline Drive, off Kings Road, in Carpentersville, Beckman said.

“We have learned that for construction management, for volunteer movement and to build a community among the families, it’s nice to have homes adjacent to one another,” she said. “We’ve been building on our experience and capacity to be able to take on 28 homes.”

Nicor Gas and Southern Co. are partnering with the Northern Fox Valley Habitat on the first 13, which will produce net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

“(The) net zero emissions homes will be equipped with a combination of renewable electric and natural gas technologies,” Nicor spokeswoman Allison Gregoire said.

These houses will have a smart thermostat, rooftop solar panels, a backup battery power supply and circuits for electrical vehicle charging, she said. Families will benefit from using energy-efficient applications to help reduce energy bills and reduce their carbon footprint.

Carter Crossing is part of a Nicor study and is one of two subdivisions with smart homes, Beckman said. The other is a 17-house subdivision in Aurora, she said.

The homes being built in Carpentersville will have three to four bedrooms, with the largest being 1,382 square feet. There will be five design styles, and each will have two enclosed and two driveway parking spaces.

Habitat for Humanity started in 1976 as a way to build homes for families in need of decent and affordable housing. Homeowners are required to put in 250 hours of “sweat equity” alongside volunteers and are given no-interest, affordable mortgages.

Beckman said the Kings Road parcel on which the Carpentersville houses are being built is wooded, located near schools and shopping, and will have a path connection to the Fox River Trail.

“It’s going to be a nice community to raise families,” she said. The recipients haven’t yet been matched with the houses yet but they will come from the agency’s waiting list of prospective homeowners.

Carpentersville Village President John Skillman said said the village welcomes the new subdivision.

“We’re happy to have it. It’s going to be a nice opportunity for people to get their own home who otherwise couldn’t afford it,” he said.

There are misunderstandings about houses like these, with many people not realizing that homeowners will have a mortgage and are obligated to put in sweat equity hours as part of the process, Skillman said.

Village Manager John O’Sullivan said it’s “is a great example of how things could be when everyone is pulling together in the same direction.”

While Habitat still needs a few permits before ground can be broken, “all the village red tape is cut,” O’Sullivan said.

Construction could start late this year or early next, Beckman said.

Gloria Casas is a freelance reporter for The Courier-News.