Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 18, 1976 · Page 9
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 9

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 18, 1976
Page 9
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Page 9 article text (OCR)

9\ -July 18, 1976 Sunday Gawtte-MaU Chirlnton, Wtil Vlrjlnit . AT THAT MOMENT Home Builders Blast Government Rules (C) New York Timti Semite Who thought of it first is beyond knowing. It had been the dream 01 so many so long: a railroad stretching across the land from sea to sea; a continent at last united; a nation's destiny made truly manifest with a bond of steel. With the Civil War ended, the dream could become a promise. Starting from Sacramento, Calif., the Central Pacific, with a labor force of 6,000 Chinese immigrants, pushed eastward through the white-crowned Sierras, the parched desert. Starting from Omaha, Neb., the Union Pacific t with its force of adventurous, brawling Irishmen, pushed westward across the boundless prairies, the torurous Rockies. After five years of great striving, of sweating and cursing and dying, the tracks m e t . . . Monday, May 10,1869, is brigiit and chilly at a place in the high wilderness north of Great Salt Lake designated Promontory Point, Utah. A skim of ice covers puddles and a stiff wind tears at a small American flag atop a telegraph pole near a gap in the tracks where the last two rails will be placed. Nearby, 14 tent saloons advertise potables with names as lusty as their kick- Red Cloud, Blue Run; Red Jacket. Business is brisk. A few settlers straggle in on horseback. Three companies of U.S. Infantry, en route to San Francisco, show up with a band. All is ready. Just before noon, shrill whistles, one from trie east, one from Ae west, announce that the trains are approaching: on the western track, the Central Pacific's locomotive, the Jupiter, with its funnel stack; on the eastern track, the Union Pacific's locomotive No. 119. They stop. A polished laurel tie is put in place with holes predrilled to receive two spikes, one of California gold, the other of Nevada silver. The silver spike is fixed so that when it is tapped in place it will close a telegraph circuit and a single word will flash across wires from coast to coast: "Done." A team of Irish railhands swings one rail across the waiting ties; a team of Chinese, in clean blue jackets, swings the other. They slam iron spikes in place to hold the rails to the ties-all except one, the laurel tie. From the western train. Central Pacific director Leland Stanford strides forward with a siver-plated sledge hammer; from the eastern train steps Union Pacific vice president Thomas C. Durant. Both make brief speeches. A minister offers a prayer. Stanford and Durant sand over ther laurel tie, smile, take up their sledges and drive home the silver and the gold spjkes. Done. Sulfur Standards Reduction Wanted After the spike driving ceremony, a photographer, Andrew J. Russel, asked the two engineers of the railroads to step out front and shake hands. Samuel S. Montague of the Central Pacific and Grenville M. Dodge of the Union Pacific posed, hands clasped, and a moment in history was frozen on Russell's fragile glass negative. After the photo, champagne flowed, along with the Red Jacket and Blue Run, and inevitably, sourenir hunters carved up no fewer than six railroad ties for keepsake slivers, the laurel tie, along with the ceremonial spikes, had been safely removed. SAN DIEGO-When Jerry Degan, a San Diego builder began selling a three-bedroom, two-bath home in the Lark Haven housing development here a little more than two years ago, its price tag was $32,990. When his company finished the final section of the 500-unit project recently, the price of the similar home was $52,990. Degan says that more than $5,000 of that price increase has accounted for by delays in approval of building plans, changes in building codes, new environmental protection regulations, and other governmental factors. "People want builders to build cheaper houses," he says, angrily. "But I don't think they understand the costs that are being heaped on us, and that we have to pass them on to the consumer." "I'm telling you: The American way of life, the dream of everyone owning his own home, is in danger in the name of the environment, and people had better get ready for it." » · * THESE STRONG words are common in the building industry these days. From New England to Honolulu, home builders are screaming about growing governmental restrictions on development, often under the name of "slow growth" policies. They are complaining of more and more red tape delaying housing developments, of more and more demands from communities for "up front" money to subsidize schools, build streets and parks, utilities and other facilities, and of tightening building codes and planning ordinances that aggravate delays and add to costs. Critics of the housing industry and some builders themselves maintain that many of the industry's problems stem from sins of the past--a legacy of the anything goes, . poorly planned crowded subdivisions of environmental abuses, corner-cutting in construction, of land fraud schemes, and payoffs to planning and building inspectors that is endemic in some parts of the country. No single factor accounts for the spiraling cost of new homes. There are the increased wages for carpenters, plumbers, and other tradesmen; higher prices for lumber and other material; a scarcity of land close to urban and suburban'areas: high mortgage interest rates, and rising property taxes that inflate monthly payments. Nevertheless, builders around the country say the regulatory pattern that has emerged in many communities and within the federal government is adding measurably to the price of new homes. And high prices for these homes probably constitute one of the principal obstacles to a full- scale recovery of the nation's depressed housing industry. The median price of a new home nationally is now in excess of $43,000, which some researchers say excludes perhaps 70 per cent of Americans from the new home market. The pricing picture appears to have created two classes of Americans--those who already own a home whose value has gone up with inflation, allowing them to accumulate equity that can be traded up to buy a bigger, better home; and those first-time buyers who must produce high down payments and take on high monthly payments. To deal with the prices confronting first- time home buyers, builders in recent years unveiled two lower-cost approaches: selling individual apartments as con' dominiums, and then stripped-down, depressed single-family housing industry, although the no frills homes and condominiums have sold well in a few areas. "Builders have undoubtedly been attempting to cut down on lot size and amenities in order to bring new housing more within the grasp of first-time purchasers," the Federal Home Loan Bank Board says. But "at best this is a slow, not an instant process." "Moreover, builders have been ffustrat- ed in their attempts" by higher prices for land and lumber, the agency reports. "Builders have undoubtedly been attempting the equation of higher prices, but also insist the escalation in government- imposed cost increases will have to abate if the increase in home costs is to be slowed. "There's a saying in this business that every time the city council meets, the price of housing goes up," said Sanford Goodkin, a Del Mar, Calif., housing industry consultant. "The city will say: "We want you, Mr. .Builder, to build residences for under $40,000," then adopt environmental restrictions and regulations that create the need for amenities and open spaces that make it impossible to do it," he says. Two or three years ago, it generally took nine months for a developer to obtain approval for a housing tract after buying the land, Goodkin said. "It now can take two years because of the bureaucracy. And this all adds to the price of a house. On a $30,000 house, I have estimated that the cost oer dav of delays is $11 to $17 a day. MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) The Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce wants state sulfur dioxide emission standards reduced to federal levels so local coal can be burned. In a letter to Adonis Hunt, chairman of the state Air Pollution Control Commission, the chamber ran a list of statistics about the importance of coal to the area economy. "We feel it is rather ironic that Monongalia County borders on the state of Pennsylvania ( b u t ) . . . cannot burn locally mined coal which can be burned right across the Pennsylvania state line under more lenient standards which have been approved by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Semi-Annual SHOE SALE . SHOPMON.-FRI. 9:30-9:00 OTHER WEEKDAYS 9:30-5:00 Town Country LITTLE HEEL PUMP Assorted Sizes and Colors Reg. to 23.00 The "Go Everywhere Pump" PLAM POMP-LITTLE HEEL-LITTLE PRICE COX'S SHOES, Man floor ST.ALBANS MALL JWY SELECT GROUP WOMEN'S FAMOUS BRAND SPRING and SUMMER 1/3 VALUES TO S 26.00 SHOES NOW ON CLEARANCE! ONE GROUP FAMOUS NAME SPRING-SUMMER SPORTSWEAR NOW ON SALE /3 OFF · PANTS · BLOUSES · SKIRTS · TOPS · SHORTS · TUNICS * SALE SWIM WEAR 40% OFF ENTIRE STOCK ON SALE! SAVEUPTO $ 28 10 MENS' FAMOUS BRAND LEISURE SUITS REG. 44.50 TO 50.00 Take advantage of this fabulous value! Just . in time for your vacation! Select your favorite color -- light pastels or darks in several styles. Sizes 38 to 46. MEN'S REGULAR t, 16°°-18 50 FAMOUS LEISURE SHIRTS 097 NOWO · Colorful Prints · Assorted Colors · Sizes S-M-L-XL TO DAY ONLY! CONVERSE TENNIS SHOES MEN'S and BOYS'SIZES REG. 6.99 5 97 Select your color-- white, black, gold, red, green, blue, purple and light blue -- size 11 to 2 -- 2V? to 6 and 6V: to 13 in men's sizes.

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