Realtors in Sumter think a recent City of Sumter housing study recommending a growth management strategy on the west side and redevelopment to the east is a worthy effort that needs incentives to work.
Realtors Talmadge Tobias and Jay …
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Realtors Talmadge Tobias and Jay Linginfelter spoke recently on recommendations from Boston-based RKG Associates' Affordable Housing Study for the city that concluded last month.
During the last 20-plus years, the western part of the city has seen fast growth with annexations and new neighborhoods springing up, but the east side of Sumter has seen little housing development and an increase in vacant and dilapidated homes as people have moved westward.
According to the research study, 55% of all the housing vacancies in the city limits fall into the categories of being not inhabitable, needing major rehab and foreclosure, among others, and mostly these homes aren't even on the market for sale or rent.
Many of these blighted homes are on the east side, the study said.
Tobias, broker in charge of ReMax Summit at 2990 Broad St. and a former city manager for Sumter, said he hasn't read the study but thinks limiting growth on the west side should only occur in the interest of encroachment issues near Shaw Air Force Base and protection of the base.
He said he thinks some redevelopment is necessary on the east and south sides and encourages city leaders - if they ultimately decide they want to slow westward development - to work with residential developers on the project.
"My first thought is that there are going to have to be some incentives of some type for development," Tobias said, "because to get contractors to come in and build new homes in areas that might be dilapidated to some extent is going to be a difficult process to manage."
Tobias, like others, said redevelopment on the east side will be piecemeal and a long-term process.
Linginfelter, multiple listing services director with the Sumter Board of Realtors, cited similar concerns for builders constructing new homes in dilapidated neighborhoods and how it negatively affects new house prices.
Linginfelter said he was recently named chairman for the local Habitat for Humanity and that he is interested in revitalization and says it will take partnerships for it to work. Sometimes, he said, it's street by street.
"It's encouraging that the city is focusing on doing that," he said, "but it's a long-range vision and process."
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