Plainfield debates proposed change to Playa Vista development
By Madhu Mayer Correspondent March 12, 2013 8:54AM
Updated: April 21, 2013 6:05AM
Plainfield trustees are not sold on a developer’s plan to change its demographic target.
On Monday, applicant Hartz Construction asked for a change to Playa Vista from an age-restricted community to an age-targeted development. The development is south of 135th Street and east of Ridge Road.
Attorney John Murphey said the downturn in the housing market prompted his clients to request the change.
“To be a valid age-restricted community, the sales must be limited such that 80 percent of the units are owned by at least one occupant age 55 or older,” he said.
But, Murphey said, “The real estate crash and the recession have changed everything.’’
“In Playa Vista, even though we have been marketing for five years, we have only sold two units out of a total of 407 approved (and) none since 2008,” he said.
Age targeted, Murphey said, means the developer will continue marketing the project to baby boomers, but will also expand the field of potential homebuyers to include couples in their 40s or 50s who had children at a young age or have no children; double-income younger couples who have put off the decision to have babies; and divorced men or women who are not the custodial parent.
Murphey said Hartz Construction knows that the active adult age-restricted market has collapsed.
“An impact of the recession is that many baby boomers no longer have the income or savings levels sufficient to allow them to comfortably make the lifestyle choice of moving to an age-restricted community,” he added.
Murphey said his clients want to modify the annexation agreement by even contributing toward school impact fees.
Trustee Dan Rippy was not in favor of lifting the age-restricted status. He said he’s concerned about density issues because an age-targeted community cannot stop families with children from moving into the development.
“The constituency I have to protect is not your investors,” Rippy said. “I caution against approving this for the sake of putting up homes.”
Trustee Bill Lamb supported lifting the change.
“You have the chance to produce housing that is needed,” Lamb said. “We’ve talked about smaller housing units (as it has become harder to make money on real estate investments). This allows people to buy something they can afford and continue to live there.”
Village Administrator Brian Murphy said staff will continue talking with Hartz officials on arriving at a resolution that is beneficial to both parties.
While he has no affiliation with Hartz or Playa Vista, Jamie Wilcox, president of Wilcox Development Group, said age-targeted communities are the way to go when it comes to selling new homes.
“Our age-targeted communities attract very few families with children,” Wilcox said.