Woodbury has decided to defer opening the southeast area of town for development as it works through infrastructure issues and hopes to have existing lots built out.
The city has had plenty of interest from developers regarding the Phase 2 area, which is generally south and east of East Ridge High School, according to Community Development Director Dwight Picha. The Woodbury City Council discussed the latest plans at Wednesday’s night workshop.
Issues with extending Pioneer Drive south—and the city’s desire to have lots in the Dancing Waters and Stonemill Farms neighborhoods built out—prompted the decision to delay development in Phase 2.
Picha said the city will continue with plans and specifications for the infrastructure improvements—which also include Dale Road updates and a large sewer line—and will likely re-evaluate opening the area for development in the summer or fall.
The city would like to have several housing projects ready to go when it does decide to open Phase 2 for development, Picha said.
For Mike DeVoe, president of Ryland Homes, that can’t come soon enough. His company has plans to develop 40 acres in the northern part of Phase 2.
“There’s definitely demand in Woodbury. … We’re anxious to move forward,” he said, adding that Ryland Homes would like to begin developing the area this spring.
Sales of non-distressed homes have stabilized, DeVoe said. “Demand has been picking up and is pretty steady.”
“We think that the time is right,” he said.
City Administrator Clint Gridley compared the situation to opening a new business—it makes sense to have everything ready at one time rather than doing things in pieces.
“We’re not quite ready to go,” he said, adding that a delay will also give the city a better sense of how the economic recovery is proceeding.
The city has run into “complexities” with grading and groundwater for the Pioneer Drive extension, City Engineer Klayton Eckles said. The city would also like to have concept plans from developers to get a better sense of where intersections will be sited along the new roadway.
Council members informally supported four recommendations from staff:
- Defer opening the Fields of Woodbury (sub-phase 2A) for development at this time based on a review of the lot inventory, economic data and developer activity. Staff recommends that the council re-evaluate opening the sub-phase in summer or fall.
- Continue planning and design for Pioneer Drive and related utilities working with the development community, analyzing alternatives and preparing plans and specifications.
- Send a letter of support to Cottage Grove for its Jamaica Avenue and Military Road funding request.
- Continue planning for development of the Fields of Woodbury (sub-phase 2A) through review of concept plans.
“It’s maintaining our flexibility but still being committed to the project,” Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens said.