Builder plans to try again; May 4 municipal election cancelled
KERENS – The issue of whether to allow new homes built using metal shipping containers within Kerens was temporarily sidetracked Tuesday, April 9 after a motion to allow such a permit died before city council.
Patriot Container Homes of Dallas applied for a specific-use permit at 210 SW Fourth St. to build a spec home, hoping the first such model would spur further interest to build more container homes within the city, said Patriot’s president, Roman Sendejas.
After a 30-minute public hearing and 20 minutes of discussion in regular session, council member Ann Fessenden made a motion to grant the permit, but Fessenden’s motion died for a lack of second.
Before Fessenden’s motion, City Administrator Katherine Combs informed council that 12 property owners in the vicinity of the proposed container home had been mailed letters gauging their feelings about issuing the permit. Combs said six letters were returned, with five property owners expressing their opposition and one nearby owner supporting it.
During the public hearing preceding council’s consideration, Sendejas told council his veteran-owned enterprise wanted “everyone to afford a home” in Kerens, which, he said, was strategically located between Corsicana, Athens and Ennis.
Sendejas, who told council he’s built commercial structures “all the way from Virginia to Northern California,” said his company’s container homes were “super energy-efficient,” low maintenance, and cost effective and that Patriot planned to use local labor while building the homes, either on-site or off-site.
After the motion to issue the specific-use permit died before council, Sendejas said he planned to come back to next month’s council meeting to revisit the issue. Sendejas had hoped to be “busting dirt” by mid-May on the company’s first container home, with construction complete by the end of June.
Council members also heard a proposal by Garry Teague of Rice to put together modular homes in Kerens that are built in Fort Worth. Council took no action on Teague’s plan for 1500-1600 square-foot homes that would have their undersides completely blocked, differentiating such structures from mobile homes, Teague said, with landscaping and various sidings included.
Teague said the three-bedroom, two-bath modular homes would withstand 130-mph winds and cost about $125,000. He also said modular homes are a “niche market” that’s “more affordable for people,” are appraised for tax purposes comparable to site-built homes, are eligible for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans and would appreciate in value as time went on.
In other Kerens City Council action, members approved:
• cancellation of May 4’s municipal election because no one signed up to challenge the incumbents, Mayor Jeffrey Saunders and Aldermen Bryant Jennings and Darren Lane, all three of whom will be automatically returned for an additional two-year term.
• adding a recently replaced LED street light at 508 SE Second St. to the city’s electric contract.
• and increasing by 1.112 percent the access line rates for telecommunications along municipal rights-of-way.