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Home-building burst on horizon in Cottage Grove

Cottage Grove might be on the verge of a small housing boom.With more than 200 detached single-family homes to be built in the proposed Ravine Meadows and Eastridge Woods developments beginning this summer, it is a positive sign, City Engineer Jennifer Levitt said.

"The activity level that we are seeing in the residential housing market is clearly a sign that the housing market is strengthening and the city is positioned well to enable development to occur," Levitt said.

The city council last week approved preliminary plat applications for two development firms to rezone and grade 101 acres of unused farm land in preparation for the construction of 226 detached single-family homes, with the idea in mind to connect the developments to existing trails and provide a park in each subdivision.

The approval comes just one month after the final plat application was affirmed for the fourth addition to the Mississippi Dunes Estates, which plans to develop another 29 lots for detached single-family homes.

Newland project

Newland Real Estate Group, who is spearheading the efforts for the construction in the proposed Ravine Meadows subdivision, plans to develop 39.5 acres of land located northeast of 70th Street and Jamaica Avenue to build 92 detached single-family homes.

"The property is currently unused farmland and the developers are ready to break ground," Senior Planner John McCool said.

The council and city's planning department reviewed the detailed plans to build in the development in November and approved preliminary blueprints, which McCool said changed slightly to accommodate a bigger park area.

"The primary difference between the concept and what is being proposed here is in the northern area (of the subdivision)," he said. "The public park is expanded in land area but everything else for the most part remains the same."

The entrance to the development is proposed to be 70th Street and Jensen Avenue.

Construction is set to begin on the Ravine Meadows subdivision in late June, Levitt said, with new streets and utilities being installed and completed by late August.

"The developer is anticipating on having a model home ready for the fall parade (of homes)," Levitt added. "The developer is also going to be doing the construction of a new neighborhood park located within the development. The park work will be completed by early fall."

As part of the 2013 fall parade of homes, all 92 lots will be available.

Overseeing the second housing development construction at the proposed Eastridge Woods development is D.R. Horton, who will be locating the second council-approved subdivision adjacent to the Ravine Meadows development on 70th Street approximately one-quarter mile east of Keats Avenue. The development plan is broken up into four phases with the first, which is construction on new streets and utilities, beginning in late June and completed by late August.

"The developer is anticipating on having a model at the fall parade (of homes) as well and the first phase will include 30 to 40 lots," Levitt said.

An unusual aspect of this proposed project is the attention D.R. Horton is paying to the natural habitat surrounding the subdivision. The company is partnering with the South Washington County Watershed District for grading of the large regional stormwater facility adjacent to the development to offer residents a link to nature.

"The unique opportunity that exists with the partnership with SWWD will provide a great new trail expansion opportunity, allow residents to enjoy a new open space and have interpretive opportunities," Levitt said. "Eastridge Woods also has a park that will be developed adjacent to the SWWD project."

Construction on the Eastridge Woods park is anticipated to be completed by fall.

The city has been in talks with other developers in the past few months, Levitt added, and could entertain the possibility of building even more housing developments in the coming years.

"(The city has) many developable pieces of land that have sewer and water already provided and are poised for development," Levitt said. "The city has made significant investments in those utilities to enable us to be in such a great position (for development) today."