A development being built off Fall Creek Road in Branson for residential townhomes and future workforce housing has requested financial help from the city after recent annexation.

Branson Affordable Housing Partners, LLC lead by Dan and Mark Ruda, sent a request to the city outlining potentially five items that they would like assistance with.

“A request for funding assistance pertaining to the development of residential townhomes and future workforce housing has been submitted by representatives of Branson Affordable Housing Partners, LLC,” said Utilities Director Mike Ray. “This request outlines four items for consideration of assistance.

–Extension of an existing sewer main located near Country Bluff Drive.

–Extension of an existing water main located near Country Bluff Drive.

–Waiver or reduction of water and sewer system connection charges.

–Abatement of real estate taxes for the project.

“There was an additional request that came in after the initial letter stating request for consideration of assistance in reducing or waving permitting fees.”

According to Ray, after the question of total cost by Aldermen Larry Milton and Bill Skains for the first two items, it could cost the city a maximum of $800,000 for the extension of an existing sewer and water main near Country Bluff Drive.

The $800,000 would not include the costs of the waiver/reduction of connection charges, the abatement or the permitting fees.

“Our city has needed this housing. We’ve needed it for years, and we’re going to continue to need it,” said Milton. “We were very supportive when the development came up ... in supporting that I recall ... I think it was Dan (Ruda) that mentioned it, the four and a half acres is for the (Missouri Housing Development Commission) housing. The balance of the project was going to be fair market value housing. That’s what I understood.

“These are very experienced developers. They know that construction, development in Branson is expensive. I think it’s a combination of passing the fairness test and what we’re looking at as far as our city finances where I don’t have much of an appetite to subsidize this development under these terms.”

During public comment, Debra (Debbie) Hart, who is part of Branson Affordable Housing development team, talked a little bit more about the project.

“The reason for the request today is to, not only in the 4.5 acre development, but also to aid the infrastructure cost for the surrounding property. It’s no secret that development and infrastructure issues in Branson are expensive just because it’s a difficult topography and there is not easy access. 

“This particular site on our 4.5 acres, there’s a significant amount of infrastructure that has to happen just to get utilities to the site. That is one of the things which is a large expense that was frankly making our construction costs much higher.

“The other thing I would mention to you ... this project, we partner with a nonprofit. The townhome project on the 4.5 acres will serve individuals and families living and working in Branson, and the goal is obviously to get the most high quality development and keep our construction cost as low as possible, just because that helps with the integrity of the project at the end of the day. We hope that the city is willing to work with us and we understand that is something that is a positive thing for the city in connection to developing additional workforce housing.”

The resolution passed with four ‘yes’ votes and one ‘no’ vote from Alderman Milton.

Alderman Kevin McConnell was absent from the meeting.

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