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City of Lebanon, Mo. offers incentives for builders to tackle housing shortage

Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 10:00 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - There are hundreds of available jobs in Lebanon, but the city says there is not enough housing for the workforce needed to fill those positions. Now, home builders will see new benefits to help keep the city growing.

“Housing is a challenge around the nation, but it’s going to be those communities that win, that are able to think outside the box to create incentives for the developers out there to help increase that stock," said Brian Thompson.

Thompson is the President and CEO for Lebanon’s Regional Economic Development Incorporated. for the city of Lebanon. He said COVID-19 has created a welcomed challenged for the area.

“People were using their funds they were maybe going to use on vacations or things of that nature, instead, they decided to spend that things like recreational vehicles, boats and the like," Thompson said.

City officials call Lebanon “the boat manufacturing capital of the world” and they said business has been booming, even during the pandemic, translating to hundreds of available jobs across the city.

In fact, Thompson said, there are more open positions now than before the pandemic hit.

“To get the employers the people they need to fill those jobs, we think housing is a critical component of that,” Thompson said.

Mike Schumacher is Lebanon’s City Administrator.

“The appetite is strong, interest rates are low, and we’re ready to build some houses. We’re going to do everything we can on the city’s side to make us a very attractive market for the building community," he said.

Schumacher said the city has recently made several key changes he’s hoping will make the difference. For the next two years, Lebanon has removed costs for permits and utility connections for houses priced at $200,000 and below.The costs for infrastructure development- like streets and water lines- were also cut by half.

“Reducing the cost will reduce the lot cost, which will result in more house for less money, because the infrastructure costs won’t impact the price point or inflate it," Schumacher said.

There are also new repayment options for construction. Schumacher admits, there are a lot of moving parts, but he said this could be a “win” for the city, home builders and employers.

“We’re ready to go with it, we think it’s incredible attractive. It’s been built with input from that community. It’s going to be interesting to see how we grow," Schumacher said.

For more information, contact Joe Berkich, Codes Administrator, at jaberkich@lebanonmo.org or (417) 991-3905.

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