Jul. 22—A planned subdivision of estate homes and a development of 150 town homes both moved forward in the approval process this week, pushing the number of Decatur homes under construction or in the planning stages over 500, with three new town home developments also in the works.
It's a reversal of fortunes for a city that has seen little residential growth in the last two decades.
Blake McAnally, of Pugh Wright McAnally Engineering Services, has been involved in most of the new developments.
"We've got about 500 lots planned now and we're seeing a lot of other people interested in coming to town and working here," McAnally said. "We've had calls from (developers in) South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and California."
Crystal Brown, president and chief executive officer of the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce, said it's not just the number of residential units that is helping the city, but their diversity. Construction is ongoing or imminent for town homes, patio homes, traditional-sized homes and large estate homes.
"We're checking all of the boxes," Brown said.
Danny Hill, who built Princeton Place about 12 years ago, is moving ahead with an adjacent subdivision of mostly estate lots on 52.6 acres off Hawthorne Drive and Deerfoot Way in Southwest Decatur, near Austin High School.
Hill on Wednesday said he finally secured the last of the properties and, "I just decided it was time to build."
The Planning Commission at Tuesday's monthly meeting approved his layout plat with the condition that any of the lots that are at least 1 acre must be rezoned to R-1E.
City Planner Lee Terry said R-1E zoning is for estate lots of at least 1 acre. Hill said he's planning to build 16 homes on 2-acre lots. A portion of the property remains zoned R-3, which allows a minimum of 7,000-square-foot lots.
"I'm not rezoning everything because I'm not sure what I'm going to do with about 15 or 16 acres in the back," Hill said.
The Planning Commission also approved the final plat, which shows about 48 lots, for River Road Estates' phase 2 on 15.37 acres off Old River Road Southeast. Old House LLC is developing this long, narrow rectangle of a subdivision.
Charles Morris, who owns Old House with his brother David Morris, said they're doing the dirt work now. Davidson Homes, which purchased the properties in phase 1 and is already building homes, has a contract to buy phase 2, he said.
"They could begin building (in phase 2) by the middle of August," Charles Morris said.
Morris said Davidson already has about 10 homes under construction in phase 1, but rain is hindering the work.
Evergreen Living, owned by Adam Davidson and Creighton Call, plans to build a development of roughly 150 town homes on the west side of Deere Road between Upper River Road and Alabama 67.
McAnally said the town home development, named Hollon Meadows, will feature front-loaded garages. They're planning a common area with a pool and a clubhouse.
The Planning Commission approved Evergreen's preliminary plat "so they should be able to begin construction in the not-too-distant future," McAnally said.
— firstname.lastname@example.org or 256-340-2432. Twitter @DD_BayneHughes.