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Habitat may build in Pasco

Habitat for Humanity, the international agency that builds low-income housing, soon might construct its first home in West Pasco.

City Council members voted 4-0 Tuesday night to draft an ordinance under which a single-family lot would be donated to Habitat.

The donation would help the city fulfill the affordable-housing requirement of its state-mandated comprehensive growth plan, City Manager Gerald Seeber said.

Council member Wendy Brenner said it would be a perfect way to get residents involved in a worthwhile project. West Pasco residents would be called upon to help build a house on one of two lots under consideration. The two lots are on Florida Avenue and Elm Street, respectively.

"This once again shows we have a lot of pride in our community," Brenner said.

Habitat's Tuesday night appearance in front of the council was its third. Last year, Habitat officials appeared twice asking council members if they would be interested in sponsoring a Habitat-built home.

Each time, the city was receptive, telling Habitat to return with a specific request _ which came Tuesday.

Dan Moody, president-elect for Habitat in West Pasco/North Pinellas, said Habitat would like to build the home in New Port Richey. It would be the second home this branch of Habitat has built in its two years of existence. Another was builtlast year in Tarpon Springs.

Whichever family is picked to live in the home will help in its construction, Moody said, and the family probably will be from New Port Richey.

"One thing we emphasize is placement of the families," Moody said. "We like them to be residents of the community, to have gainful employment, and be hard-working families."

Last year, Habitat got a much colder reception from neighboring Port Richey. Agency officials approached the Port Richey City Council with a proposal to build about 60 low-income homes at the site of the defunct Indian Trace subdivision. The council rejected the agency's plan, voicing concerns over property values.