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A new housing development is beginning to take shape in Lompoc, marking what could become the first major home construction in the city in a decade.

Grading work has begun for the Purisima Hills development, which is slated to bring 44 new homes to a tract of land near the Wye intersection of Highway 1 and Harris Grade Road. The project had been in the planning stages for more than 10 years before it was taken over two years ago by the Ventura-based McCarthy Companies.

With Lompoc experiencing what many city officials have described as a shortage of homes over the past several years, City Manager Jim Throop said he was “very excited” about the prospect of additional housing. Still, even with the new homes, he said, Lompoc would continue to remain “far behind the curve” on its housing stock.

“The city could easily use hundreds of new homes, both single-family and multifamily housing,” he said. “This development is the first in many years … and as a city, we need more housing inventory to meet the ever growing needs on our community. The 44 homes being built will help, absolutely, but we need many more homes, of all pricing levels, to meet current demands.”

Sarah McCarthy-Garcia, the vice president of McCarthy Companies, said the developers are still working on obtaining permits from the city and that the development is still in the early stages. She said she expected construction to begin this summer on model homes, which are projected to be available for tours in early 2020.

The prices for the homes are expected to begin in the $500,000 range.

McCarthy-Garcia said that McCarthy Companies was drawn to the project in part due to Lompoc’s housing shortage and the rising number of professionals who live in the area, including those who commute to Vandenberg Air Force Base for work.

“We had been looking for a while at different opportunities throughout the area, and when we saw this opportunity, we saw that there hadn’t been much housing built in Lompoc,” she said. “We really loved the community and thought it was a great opportunity for a new development and a real need that we could meet with 44 new homes that, I still think as far as California standards are concerned, are affordably priced.”

She said that floor plans and other details about the homes were not yet available and suggested that the developers would be able to share those aspects as soon as this summer.

Potential homebuyers can stay abreast of the development by providing contact information on the company’s website at https://purisimahills.com, where they can also join an interest list for priority consideration for purchasing during the first phase of completed homes.

The development, which is on a parcel of land annexed to the city 13 years ago, could provide a fiscal boost to the city as it deals with projected budget deficits over the next few years.

If the homes were to sell for $500,000 each, the city could expect to gain an additional $20,000 per year in property tax revenue, according to Throop.

The impact on sales taxes, he said, was more difficult to project. If the average annual income of each of the 44 households was $100,000 per year, that could lead to an addition of about $11,000 in sales taxes each year. If the household incomes remain in line with the city’s average from the most recent census in 2010 — about $45,000 to $49,000 per year — that could lead to about $5,400 in additional sales taxes.

Those projections could play a role in the 2019-21 biennial budget discussions, which will formally kick off with a workshop at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, at Lompoc City Hall.

Throop said the city is still working with developers that plan to build homes in the so-called Burton Ranch area. He also noted that discussions are continuing regarding potential home construction in the Bailey Corridor area that has been proposed for possible annexation to expand the city’s western reach.

“That one still has a number of hurdles to cross before a project could start,” Throop said of the Bailey Corridor possibilities.

McCarthy-Garcia said McCarthy Companies was looking forward to the Purisima Hills development, and she praised city staff for its cooperation throughout the early stages. She said the project was a “natural fit” for the area and that she felt the homes would appeal to a wide range of consumers.

“It’s going to be beautiful and we’re excited,” she said of the project. “I think it’s going to just be a nice, fun addition to the community.”

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Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.

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