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Woodbury to open up more land for development

Woodbury will soon open more land for development as the economy continues to recover and the housing market picks up.

City officials will vote next month to open Phase 2B, 650 acres of land in southern Woodbury, to meet consistent growth demands projected in the city’s Comprehensive Plan.

“We have a lot of interest from developers who would like to develop in Woodbury,” Community Development Director Dwight Picha said.

Woodbury opened Phase 2A at the end of 2012. Construction began on three subdivisions to meet the goal of adding 600 new units a year.

With subdivisions in Phase 1 like Stonemill Farms and Dancing Waters near completion, the city’s lot inventory has been diminishing and not meeting demands, Picha said.

Just to get 300 to 350 units per year, Woodbury needs to open Phase 2B, he added.

The city adopted the Phase 2 growth management strategy in 2011, which gives discretion to open up sub-phases as the market requires.

Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens said the plan gives City Council flexibility “without having to open up large developments like we did in Stonemill Farms and Dancing Waters,” since the housing market has been unpredictable over the past few years.

The goal is to build 600 units a year, but that’s not to say it will be capped at that number, city planners say.

City Council Member Paul Rebholz wondered if the city should reconsider the goal.

“I’m not sure we want to do 1,300 units like we did in the ‘90s,” he said, but noted the market should guide the growth.

Housing construction averaged 600 units a year from 2000 to 2007, according to a staff report. Since 2011, construction has gone down to about 300 to 390 units per year.

City planners estimate about 400 new units will be built annually through 2018. Permit applications for Phase 2B are expected to come in this fall.

“We will allow for what the market will allow,” city planner Eric Searles said.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.