The Town of Scotia is planning to put 270 homes on the market. – SUBMITTED IMAGE

After years of efforts to transform a former timber company town into a new residential destination, the Town of Scotia is planning to put about 270 homes on the market.

The Town of Scotia LLC, which owns the town, has been working to create a residential subdivision since 2009, according to Town of Scotia President Frank Bacik. Transforming a former company town first constructed in the 1880s into a residential neighborhood wasn’t easy or cheap, with Bacik estimating about $15 million was spent on the effort.

“We brought Scotia into the 21st century, sometimes kicking and screaming,” he said.

Plans to reorganize the town started even earlier in 2005 when Pacific Lumber Company still owned the town. Bacik said he was the vice president and general counsel for the company at that time.

“There are no more company towns anymore and for good reason,” Bacik said. “The old mining towns and auto enclaves and timber towns have all been converted to private ownership in various ways unless they are really out in the middle of nowhere and they have to provide the services.”

The homes, which are currently rentals, are planned to be put on the market in five phases, with the first phase consisting of 40 homes, Bacik said.

Even after Pacific Lumber Company filed for bankruptcy in 2007 and reorganized into Mendocino Redwood Company and Humboldt Redwood Company in 2008, plans to convert the company housing into a residential area did not change.

To accomplish this, Bacik said they had to have a county General Plan amendment, change zoning regulations, submit applications for subdivisions and development, conduct environmental reviews, create a new community services district to take care of water and sewage services, sign an energy contract with PG&E to provide power to the town, pave roads and make repairs to homes.

Rather than sell the homes itself, the Town of Scotia hired Coldwell Banker Cutten Realty to handle them. Coldwell Banker Cutten Realty agent Cathy Endert said she will be handling the sales and is looking forward to it.

“They were the rentals for the employees with Pacific Lumber Company,” Endert said. “They have never been for sale. It’s the first time on the market. A lot of the homes are 100 years old, but all crafted with redwood. It stands the test of time.”

Endert and Bacik said the home prices range from $145,000 to $235,000 depending on their size and location.

Some of the homes being put on the market were occupied by renters, with Bacik saying they gave the renters a 90-day window to determine if they wanted to purchase the home or move. If the renter did not want to buy, Bacik said they were given a notice to vacate. Some renters have chosen to locate at other rentals in the town, but Bacik said that will only delay the decision as those homes will be eventually placed on the market.

About a dozen homes have sold so far, Bacik said.

“We at Coldwell Banker Cutten Realty are very honored and pleased to represent the Town of Scotia and we’ll do them a good job,” Realtor broker Mock Wahlund said.

Bacik said despite the changes, they are still trying to maintain a sense of community in the “quaint” rural town along the Eel River. Everyone has to go to the post office to pick up their mail as there is no delivery, the fire department is made up of volunteers and everyone is likely to know each other, Bacik said.

“There is a saying here in Scotia that you don’t need to use your blinker in town because people already know where you’re going to anyway,” Bacik said.

Will Houston can be reached at 707-441-0504.

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