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‘Really innovative’: McCall building dubbed ‘The Toaster’ to be used for employee housing

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The City of McCall has struggled with adding affordable and employee housing over the years — especially since the influx of vacation rentals. However, city council unanimously voted to approve an ‘innovative’ idea that would add some employee housing.

The owners of a property on 111 W Lake St. had plans to demolish the existing house and a unique, associated structure, which McCall residents often refer to as ‘The Toaster’. The Toaster, which is pictured above, is around 1,100 square feet with two bedrooms, two baths, and a storage area.

McCall Community and Economic Development Director Michelle Groenevelt and City Planner, Brian Parker, spoke with the owners, who agreed to donate the rectangular structure to the city.

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The structure would need to be relocated, which Groenevelt says can be done after some modifications, including adding some bracing to the window. As far as where the structure would be moved to, Groenevelt says a lot at 1614 Davis Ave. that the city was recently gifted would be a viable candidate.

“A significant portion of this property is wetland, but the portion closest to the street is dry and suitable for development, like a small single-family home,” she said. “This City-owned parcel is roughly the same dimensions as 111 W Lake Street and the structure would meet setbacks and other development standards. The small structure would be consistent with the small homes located to the north of these two parcels along the west side of Davis Ave.”

All members at Thursday’s meetings praised the project.

“I am a big advocate for us doing everything that we can towards workforce housing, and I believe that we should be trying to do individual projects when the opportunity arises,” council member Mike Maciaszek said. “I think that the city, hospital, school district, major employers, small employers, everybody should be looking towards opportunities to help with their needs as it relates to housing for employees.”

[30 duplexes and triplexes planned for east side of Payette Lake in McCall]

Project ownership

Groenevelt recommends that the city own and manage the unit and for it to be part of the Employer Housing Program. She wrote in the memo that it could serve as a ‘transition unit’ for new city hires as they look for permanent housing.

“So we often have that issue of trying to hire new people and they don’t end up taking the job because they can’t find a house,” Groenevelt said. “But it would give them kind of a temporary landing place until they could hopefully transition into another home or unit somewhere else.”

Cost

The relocation project is still in the very early stages but the applicant presented council with some cost estimates. Pacific Movers estimates the relocation to cost around $30,000. Foundation and excavation costs are estimated between $50,00 to $70,00, a partial remodel could cost around $100,000, sewer could cost about $10,100, and water connection is estimated around $5,980. Various sources around the city estimated these prices.

However, items such as donations and grants could change these estimates.

Mayor Bob Giles wrapped up the application by saying all members of council are ‘excited’ about this donation.

“We are all in,” Giles said. “We think (you) brought us a great proposal… And we’re also excited about developing a plan for the relocation and figuring out the correct ownership, and management. And I think we all recognize that we’re going to learn an awful lot. You’ve got to step out and do things and then you learn. So thanks for bringing us something that’s really innovative, we really appreciate it.”

Autum Robertson - BoiseDev Reporter
Autum Robertson is a BoiseDev reporter focused on Meridian and McCall. Contact her at autum@boisedev.com.

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