News

Council discusses layout of new proposed subdivision

Annual Marion Avenue Baptist Church open house request denied, social distancing concerns cited

A proposed layout for plat one of the new NLW subdivision has been discussed by the city council and will contain room for 11 units. The land is located on East Tyler Street and South 12th Avenue in Washington, adjacent to the former Whitesell building. (Gretchen Teske/The Union)
A proposed layout for plat one of the new NLW subdivision has been discussed by the city council and will contain room for 11 units. The land is located on East Tyler Street and South 12th Avenue in Washington, adjacent to the former Whitesell building. (Gretchen Teske/The Union)
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WASHINGTON — Lot sales for the new NLW subdivision in Washington were discussed by the city council Tuesday night.

The land for the new housing development was gifted to the city by the Whitesell Corporation after it vacated its building. The land behind the building will in turn be developed into the NLW subdivision.

City Administrator Brent Hinson sent a memo to the council explaining the lots were “priced to sell” with the price being based off the Prairie Home Addition and Oakwood Village Subdivision. The prices are set to be low with the intent to encourage fast development.

The proposal for plat 1 will have lots available with room for two duplexes and seven single family homes. The lot prices are based on the size and are set at $30,000 and $27,000 for the duplexes and $25,000 and $22,000 for single family homes.

The conceptual layout for plat 2 would consist of eight duplexes and two town homes for a total of 28 units. Plat 2 has not yet been approved by the city council.

However, council member Steven Gault was opposed to the number of duplexes in the area and concerned they would be used for rental property. Hinson said he felt duplexes served the same purpose as other small homes, using the example of the cottages available at the United Presbyterian Home, and that if the city wanted to accomplish better affordability for senior citizens and first time homeowners there needed to be a variety of options. Single family homes alone would not be enough, he said.

Gault stood firm on his stance, saying he felt at least one new subdivision the city was creating needed to be residential housing only. Gault said he wanted to see that happened in the NWL subdivision or the proposed development that will be built on 43 acres of land the council entered a purchase agreement for in November, known as the Bell property.

Council member Elaine Moore said building duplexes did not guarantee they would be used for rental property and fellow member Danielle Pettit-Majewski said new housing could help encourage employees who live out of town to settle in the town they work in.

“If we want to progress as a community we have to have available housing,” Hinson said.

The item was discussed in a workshop and was not up for approval at the meeting. Hinson said more details would be available at the next meeting but as long as things progressed in a timely fashion the lots could be available for purchase as soon as this fall.

In other news the council denied a request from the Marion Avenue Baptist Church to host its annual open house in central park. Michael Griswold, coordinator for the event, told the council the event brought in 500 people last year, prompting many council members to hesitate to allow the activities.

The event was scheduled for Saturday June 27 and Sunday June 28 and would include inflatables, meals and games, according to an application sent in to the council. Council member Gault said he did not feel this was a proper time for people to be congregating due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There were no personal feelings against the church, he said, but did not feel it would be safe and that all kids would be wearing masks and stay six-feet apart.

Pettit-Majewski agreed, saying several other area businesses had to cancel or modify events due to COVID-19 and felt the church should do the same. Although churches have been approved by the governor to meet, she felt it set a precident in town when other organizations were taking precautions against the virus.

However, council member Brendan DeLong did not agree and said he felt the church should be in charge of social distancing. The council would grant access to the public property, he said, but it was up to the church to enforce social distancing standards.

“We can’t say no because we’re afraid of what’s going to happen,” he said.

Council member Moore agreed, but members Fran Stigers and Millie Youngquist did not. Ultimately the request was denied with a vote of 4-2 with DeLong and Moore voting in favor of the event.

Griswold was informed the event could still take place on private property and would not require city approval.