Oil boom causing housing problems in Snyder

POSTED: 8:12 PM Jan 18 2013
SNYDER, Texas -

Snyder is a small city of just 11,000 people, but the recent oil boom has put it on the map.

"You've gone from being the unknown sleepy little town in West Texas to we've got the bullseye on our back," said Bill Lavers, Executive Director of the Development Corporation of Snyder.

Snyder hasn't seen growth like this in decades. With the discovery of the Cline Shale oil area, people and businesses are flocking to the area.

"It appears that it's going to be one of the larger growth areas and booms that we've had in Snyder for a number of years," said Mayor Terry Martin.

That growth could bring big housing problems to the area, and there is evidence that those problems have already begun.

"There's not any homes in Snyder right now to speak of," said Tommy Abbott, a general contractor.

Abbott is about five months behind in business. He said December and January are usually his slowest months, but that is not the case this year.

"It's gonna take a lot of houses to handle the influx of people. It sure is," said Abbott.

Mobile home parks are popping up across the town.

One owner says last winter, her park was about 30 percent full.  This year it is completely full.

Western Crest Apartments Manager Kim May gets at least 30 phone calls a day.

"People calling constantly, wanting apartments and not having any place to go," said May.

Lavers said people from all over are moving to the town to be part of the boom, and it's happening fast.

"Nine months ago, we couldn't give away the land in the Industrial Park. Now it's get in line and whoever shows up with the money first, wins," said Lavers.

He said additional housing developments are crucial.

"Do we need housing? Yes. What type? All," said Lavers.

He said it's the biggest problem Snyder is facing right now.

"We could get all the people with all the jobs and they could make a great living but if they can't find a place to live, it makes it really hard," said Lavers.

Developers in Snyder are working to stay ahead, but growth is happening faster than housing can be built and land may be running out.

Wednesday was the fourth Cline Shale Session, and it was held in Snyder.

It was a meeting where residents, elected officials and developers from around the Big Country gathered to discuss community issues.

The next meeting in that series will be held February 8 in Colorado City.

The location of that meeting has not yet been announced because they may need to find a bigger venue.