Reposted with permission from the Hobbs News Sun.

The Hobbs City Commission ended its public meetings in 2018 on a fitting note Monday night, approving another agreement with a developer for infrastructure improvements as a record-setting homebuilding pace continues throughout the city.

The City Commission unanimously approved a $100,000 development agreement Monday night with French Brothers for 10 more market-rate, single-family homes to be built in the Zia Crossing subdivision. The agreement, the city’s sixth development agreement with French Brothers, will reimburse the Alamogordo-based company for public infrastructure directly related to the new houses.

French Brothers has built more than 100 homes at Zia Crossing, which is west of Zia Park Casino, but French Brothers now concentrates in the Tanglewood Estates in northeast Hobbs, where it has 38 lots. French Brothers co-owner Corrine Bachman said the developer has a master plan in the works for a community with residential, multi-family and commercial properties.

Earlier this month, the City Commission unanimously approved development agreements with ABS Homes, which is also building single-family homes in the Zia Crossing subdivision, and Gold Creek Homes, which is building homes at Homestead Estates.

The agreement with Hobbs-based ABS Homes will reimburse the contractor up to $100,000 for public infrastructure related to the construction of 10 new single-family homes in the Zia Crossing subdivision. It is the city’s sixth development agreement with ABS.

Kevin Robinson, the city’s development director, said ABS has built 73 homes in the city so far utilizing the development agreements, which the city first started awarding to builders of single-family homes in June 2012.

The agreement with Gold Creek Homes also will reimburse the Weatherford, Texas-based contractor up to $100,000 for public infrastructure related to the construction of 10 new single-family homes in the Homestead Estates subdivision. It is the city’s 10th development agreement with Gold Creek, which has built 349 single- and multi-family homes in the city utilizing the development agreements.

The taxpayer-funded subsidies pay contractors for the installation of municipal infrastructure, such as water and sewer lines, streets to access new homes, and sidewalks. The public infrastructures adjacent to the front property line of structures — particularly sidewalks — might not otherwise be built without the incentives, which local developers have said have incentivized homebuilding in the city.

The infrastructure reimbursement incentives, which are not paid until occupancy permits have been issued by the city, are intended to ease the city’s housing crunch.

Five major housing construction projects — Zia Crossing, Homestead Estates, The Meadows, Tanglewood and Libba Land Subdivision — are all simultaneously under construction in and around Hobbs, apparently setting a record, according to longtime residents.

Bobby Shaw of Burkett-Shaw Realty, a real estate agent in Hobbs for several decades, credits the City Commission’s housing incentives as a catalyst for the high level of home construction. Shaw said new houses are being sold and occupied as soon as they are built, if not before they are completed.

As of the end November, there have been 153 building permits for new homes within Hobbs city limits for the year, with those building permits valued at $32.6 million. The number of new home permits already exceeds 2017 and 2016 numbers.

The city issued permits for 14 new single-family homes in November. The new home permits do not include manufactured homes. Through November, the city has issued 39 permits for manufactured homes this year.

Jeff Tucker can be reached at .