A 106-page, $32,000 housing study has told the Town of Sahuarita what it already knew — it’s heavy on single-family homes and there are few options for those looking for apartments, townhomes or condos.
Mayor Tom Murphy hopes the study will help Sahuarita diversify its housing stock, and he said it’s the council’s job to make that easier to do.
“We’ve mainly invested in single-family homes, having some availability for multi-family units,” Murphy said. “There were highlights in this study that could be useful for us as a town moving forward and for our partners to encourage and make it easier for them to maybe look at some sectors like rentals and townhomes.”
There currently are no apartments or townhomes under construction in the area.
The study, presented to the council in a study session Monday, is a step toward a Strategic Plan focus area that calls for the addition of 200 workforce housing units by 2025.
Focus areas of the study included housing needs, market assessment, identification of possible residential development and income categories in Sahuarita and Green Valley.
According to the study, 92 percent of Sahuarita’s housing stock is made up of single-family homes with 5 percent manufactured homes. Murphy said the area’s limited apartment offerings often have a waiting list.
There are only a few apartment buildings in Green Valley; most rentals available in the area are single-family homes.
“I know we have an overall healthy community, but we need to have different affordability sectors to continue to attract people,” Murphy said. “For many people in the community, there is a need for entry-level housing. We are a pretty transient population with people working at Raytheon or the Border Patrol, and we do not have a lot of apartments and rentals in the market.”
What’s out there
The study found the current inventory for the affordable income bracket of rentals (earning less than $54,700) was “quite limited.”
Rental market demand from future projected employment at the affordable income level is projected to jump from 603 units to 741 over the next 10 years, and from 179 units to 220 in the workforce income (earning $54,701 to $82,080).
Murphy said he believed it was important to have a variety of housing options available for temporary residents, mid-level income earners and people in entry-level positions.
There are a few areas in Sahuarita and Green Valley identified in the study as potential locations for multi-family dwellings and Murphy said the town can work to remain flexible on zoning regulations there.
“One thing we can work on, and several members of council brought it up, is having flexibility of zoning,” he said. “We want to provide as much flexibility as possible to encourage and increase multiple types of development.”
Sites in Sahuarita recommended on the study were:
•Southeast of Twin Buttes and La Villita roads
•A parcel south of Grace Lutheran Church, newly built near the southwestern corner of La Villita and Sahuarita Road.
•Parcel near the northeastern corner of La Canada and Duval Mine Road.
Sites in Green Valley recommended were:
•I-19 and Continental Road
•Near Duval Mine Road and La Canada Drive
•Camino del Sol and Camino Encanto
Murphy is hopeful the study can encourage development of more affordable rentals.
“I hope current developers can use this to look at filling the void and partnering with others,” he said. “Having that evidence may cause developers to look to round out various housing opportunities important to a healthy community.”