By Holly Osmer
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter
DEWITT — According to DeWitt Chief of Police Bruce Ferguson, DeWitt’s population is expanding. Families are coming for its quality schools, and in order to make room for those families, housing developments are being built.
“We are one of the few cities that are still digging holes almost daily,” said Ferguson. “We’ve got two sub-divisions of houses that are being built almost perpetually.”
The two sub-divisions, The Oaks and Wildflower Meadows, according to DeWitt City Administrator Dan Coss, are being built on what used to be vacant land. The rate of new houses being built is about 10 to 15 homes per year.
According to Coss, Schroeder Homes is working on the construction for Wildflower Meadows and DTP Construction is developing The Oaks.
“We have built 80 plus dwellings in Wildflower Meadows with a price range of $225,000 to $360,000, constructed over a number of years,” said Schroeder Homes Salesman Greg Holmgren.
These houses are relatively close to that of the average home sale in DeWitt which, according to Coss, is approximately $225,000.
In some growing communities, an increase in population, while economically beneficial, can have potential negative environmental impacts, according to information provided by Wise Geek.
Such effects can include a higher demand for clean water, housing availability, waste control, road conditions, and telecommunication infrastructure.
According to Coss, the current growth in population DeWitt is experiencing is not substantial enough to create a strain on availability or affordability of homes for prospective buyers, and current facilities are not at a stage where such increases could push equipment past their capacity, requiring investment in additional facilities.
According to Trulia, only 27 percent of homeowners are single residents, meaning there is a larger residential demographic of families.
Wildflower Meadows is located on Lobelia Lane. According to Schroeder Homes, it is conveniently located near several DeWitt schools, including Fuerstenau, Schavey Road Elementary, Scott Elementary, Herbison Woods, DeWitt Junior High, and DeWitt High School.
The Oaks is in the same area as Wildflower Meadows, located on South DeWitt Road, just south of the DeWitt Post Office.
By building affordable home that are located near schools, close to the freeway, and just down the street from DeWitt’s downtown area and all of its current and incoming local businesses, the location of these sub-divisions were thoughtfully planned to be a family community.
A potential concern for the increased development of homes is a plan for land-use procedures and the blending of these expanding areas to the downtown.
“The city has a comprehensive long range Master Plan that lays out how the City should be developed by Land Use,” said Coss.
In The Big Picture: DeWitt 2010 to 2020 Master Plan that Coss mentioned, DeWitt’s plan to expand its community and extend its appeal to the families they are making room for is coordinating the layout and accessibility of the downtown and its businesses with the family communities.
In the Master Plan, under Opportunities and Constraints in the Critical Planning Area Number Five – East Side of DeWitt Road, Between Post Office and the Oaks Subdivision, the City of DeWitt takes into account the proximity of Wildflower Meadows and The Oaks development from the downtown as well as their proximity to public walking trails.
DeWitt aims to have a ‘pedestrian-friendly downtown with bustling businesses,’ as stated in the Master Plan under Critical Planning Area Number Seven – Downtown DeWitt. By linking the downtown to its neighborhoods with more lighting, these expanding family communities have more options to accessing the downtown.
“There is still approximately 200 acres available for development in the city,” said Coss. “The Oaks, when fully developed, will be approximately 75 homes and Wildflower Meadows is approximately 150 homes.”
The addition and expansion of these sub-divisions play a role in expanding the City of DeWitt by helping incoming families make themselves at home and feel welcome to the community.