Except in the winter. "When the leaves are down it's a different story." Then you can look downhill and across the Kanawha to the Dow Chemical plant on Blaine Island.
The subdivision was first developed in the 1970s by Gene Warden and the Grace-Warden Agency, Means said. Warden built 20 to 30 homes until about 2005, when he donated the remaining property to Habitat.
Because homes in the area have traditionally suffered from water runoff problems, possibly from a water tower at the top of the hill, Habitat hired an engineer early on to design a solution, Means said.
Catch basins and swales will help, and the road itself will catch and redirect water draining from the top of the hill away from homes, he said. Drainage should be better when the project is finished, he said.
Board member Adam Krason, a principal at ZMM Architects & Engineers, used his connections there to have architects design a home suited for the rugged terrain at North Hills, Means said.
"It's an interesting design. It can be used for both uphill and downhill lots," he said. "We struggle with building houses below the road."
It may take three years or more to fill the remaining lots, Means said.
"We'll continue now in our normal pattern -- eight to 10 houses a year. Many will be up there, but also on scattered sites. As soon as we get our approval, we'll be ready to build more houses."
Reach Jim Balow at ba...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.