Woodbury trains its focus on southern developmentNow that the missing pieces of the Phase 1 puzzle have been put in place, Phase 2 is ready for development.
By: Riham Feshir, Woodbury Bulletin
Now that the missing pieces of the Phase 1 puzzle have been put in place, Phase 2 is ready for development.
The area south of Bailey Road is divided into sub categories, with the first one in line to see some housing construction located near East Ridge High School and the Bielenberg Sports Center.
Woodbury City Council members agreed with staff at a workshop Wednesday, Sept. 19, to open up “Fields of Woodbury” or what was formerly called Sub-phase 2A.
Community Development Director Dwight Picha said with the progress the city has been seeing in the housing market this year, now is a good time to open up the development for those interested in building there.
“Basically all the large pieces in Phase 1 that were up in the air in January have made significant progress,” he said.
One of the large developments that sat empty until March was Highland Knoll. It was a tax-forfeited land with single-family lots that were sold in the spring and immediately began seeing building activity.
Additionally, the Stonemill Farms, Ridgestone and Dancing Waters developments have seen some building activity as well, Picha said.
The city had previously deferred opening of Phase 2 until the housing and building market stabilized and adjacent property owners were brought up to speed on the easements required for the project.
Now the city is in preliminary negotiations with property owners in Phase 2 to obtain right-of-way easements before moving forward with development.
City Engineer Klayton Eckles said Pioneer Drive – which will serve as the main road within the development – cannot be extended south without getting those easements.
The city will begin work on the design of the road this fall and continue through the winter.
“To keep this project moving … we’re really going to need the partnership of property owners,” he said.
So far city staff doesn’t anticipate Pioneer Drive will be anything larger than a two-lane road. However, they plan to design it with the potential of becoming four lanes in the future if needed.
Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens said she was inclined to move forward with the recommendation to open up Fields of Woodbury.
Council Member Julie Ohs agreed and said now is a good time to do so.
“I think the timing works out really well with everything we’ve done so far,” she said.
The city is also working on updating its zoning ordinance to coordinate with the 2030 Comprehensive Plan and accommodate for growth and additional development.
City Administrator Clint Gridley said moving forward with Phase 2 now will allow staff to include some of that language in the updated zoning ordinance as well.
A few area residents and interested builders attended the Sept. 19 workshop.
Cheryl Loegering, who lives on Dale Road, encouraged the city to take a closer look at her street while working on Phase 2.
She said traffic on Dale Road has increased dramatically with East Ridge High School students cutting through from Mile Drive.
“Every month, the traffic increases two-fold,” she said.
Council Member Paul Rebholz said the city should try to avoid another “donut hole” by including Dale Road in the plans, referring to a part of Stonemill Farms that wasn’t on schedule with the rest of the area.
Eckles said Pioneer Drive has been a challenge all on its own but he plans to bring back an update on the road designs in a few months.
Staff and council appeared eager and excited to get another phase of Woodbury opened up for housing after years of working on the plans.
“I think it’s time to move forward on Phase 2A,” Council Member Christopher Burns said.
“This is really a significant step for us,” he said. “This is a big goal for the city.”