FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Local developers and builders are taking the housing shortage seriously and proving it by putting applications before the Allen County Plan Commission faster than slab on to a fresh lot.
The Allen County Plan Commission on Thursday entertained five applications that will bring 1,252 new homes to the county. Very little opposition was voiced at the meeting as a housing boom works to fill the housing shortage.
The four proposed developments in Perry and Eel River townships in the county’s northwest brought Brandon Seifert, Huntertown Town Council president, to the microphone to voice support. The developments are proposed by two of the county’s most active developers, Ric Zehr of Northeastern Realty Group and Jeff Thomas of Oakmont Development, located on Coldwater Road at the same address as Mike Thomas Associates.
Along with a smaller 24-lot subdivision proposed by JRN Construction to be called the Bluffs of Carroll Creek, Thursday’s total of 1,252 adds up to more than 2,000 homes when Zehr’s previously announced 825-lot subdivisions, The Fens and The Farmstead of Carroll Creek, off Woods and Hand Roads, proposed in January, are figured in.
Zehr reiterated his argument that the county is desperate for housing. Currently, there are 167 homes on the market when normally the county has between 2,500 and 3,000 for sale. The shortage has led to homes sold before they hit the market, selling for higher than asking price and making it difficult for some people to even think about buying a home.
Zehr is proposing another large development of 715 lots on nearly 300 acres called Broad Acres that WANE 15 first reported last month. Salomon Farm Holdings was listed as the owner of the property at Hathaway, Carroll and Hand Roads. To the west is farmland, still plentiful in the Huntertown area, according to Seifert. If it is developed, Huntertown Water and Sewer has the capacity to handle the aggressive development, Seifert added.
“People want to live in our area because we have low taxes. We have a great school district and it’s just a hot area to be a part of here in Allen County,” Seifert said. “The waste water treatment plant is still relatively new and has more than enough capacity to handle all the development that we are seeing, and with the continued growth, it can handle that as well.”
Huntertown is authorized to provide sewer service to the “back corner of Allen County” that stretches to the boundaries of Whitley and DeKalb counties. Local officials built the sewer plant in anticipation of that growth predicted in a 1994 study.
Thomas of Oakmont Development has proposed three developments, the largest, Sonora, on 165 acres off Bethel Road with 322 lots. To the north is Hathaway Road, according to filing documents, to the east and south, agricultural land. The housing additions of Carroll Creek and Lakes of Carrol Creek, Eel River Elementary School and Carroll Middle School surround the development.
Another application for Emrich Hills for an additional 57 lots and Cascata Estates, another seven, is a continuation of Oakmont’s existing developments off Shoaff Road.
Off Bass Road in southwest Allen County, Thomas has proposed adding 174 lots in Aboite Township on an 83-acre parcel and is seeking R-2 or two-family zoning rather than R-1 zoning that stipulates single family homes. Tiburon is designated for 76 lots and Livingston Lakes Extended, 98lots, filing documents said. Part of the development will connect to Livingston Lakes and the proposed Signal Ridge development, with an entrance to Bass Road, primarily because there is an adjacent railroad.
The future Bluffs of Carroll Creek sits on 8.6 acres and is owned by Christ’s Hope ministries in the 2800 block of Carroll Road. The church sits adjacent to the proposed development next to a housing development.
The developments await final approval from the Plan Commission at its next meeting on April 21 and then final approval from the Allen County Commissioners during their regular Friday meetings.