Housing on the horizon

FD council moves to support Williams Bend duplexes

-Messenger photo illustration by Bill Shea
A row of new homes under construction stands along the east side of Williams Drive in the new Williams Bend neighborhood in this image made from multiple photos.

A small forest of wood beams rising out of the dirt along Williams Drive marked the spot where a new home is being built.

Not far away, workers stacked shingles atop another house under construction as they prepared to finish the roof.

A couple of concrete block foundations awaited the crews that will build the rest of the homes that will rest upon them. And in the middle of a sea of black earth, an excavator dug a trench for water and sewer lines.

That was all part of the scene Monday afternoon in Williams Bend, the newest housing area in Fort Dodge.

On Monday night, the City Council took some actions to keep development there moving forward.

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
A row of new homes under construction stands along the east side of Williams Drive in the new Williams Bend neighborhood.

The council approved the second reading of a measure that will change the zoning designation of part of the area from multi-family residential to a category that allows duplexes.

That area is north of 21st Avenue North and west of North 15th Street. It was originally to be the site of a 55-unit apartment building. The developer, Northwest Iowa Building Co. LLC, of Ankeny, has shifted the planned apartment building so that it will face North 15th Street. The spot where the apartment building was to be will now be filled with 15 duplexes.

The zoning change was approved unanimously and without discussion. It must be approved once more to become law.

Also on Monday, the council unanimously approved a measure adding the site of the duplexes to the city’s housing urban renewal area. That means tax increment financing can be used to help pay for the roads, water mains and sewers needed to serve the new duplexes. Up to $1.2 million will be given to the developer for that purpose. That money will come from increased property tax revenue generated by the new duplexes.

The Williams Bend neighborhood is bordered by Williams Drive to the west, 25th Avenue North to the north, North 15th Street to the east and 20th Avenue North to the south.

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
The wood framing of a new home rises along Williams Drive as creation of the Williams Bend neighborhood continues.

Long-time Fort Dodge residents may remember the site as the Theiss farm. In 2016, the city government and the Fort Dodge Betterment Foundation teamed up to buy the property specifically so it could be used for housing development.

The plan for the area includes 48 single family homes, 32 duplexes and the apartment building.

Long-range plans call for additional housing on the west side of Williams Drive.

In an unrelated matter, the council on Monday approved the second reading of a measure to rezone the north 150 feet of property at 228 Kenyon Road West from commercial to light industrial status. That’s the property of Misty Harbor, a growing manufacturer of pontoon boats. The company wants to use the area to expand its outdoor storage space.

Councilman Dean Hill asked if the city can require the company to put a solid fence around the area instead of a chain link fence.

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
An excavator drops a load of dirt as crews with Rasch Construction Inc., of Fort Dodge, dig a trench for pipes as creation of the new Williams Bend neighborhood continues.

Chad Schaeffer, the city’s director of engineering, business affairs and community growth, said a 7-foot-tall solid wood fence has been recommended.

That rezoning measure was approved unanimously. It must be approved one more time to become law.

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
The foundation of a new home along 21st Avenue North awaits the construction crews that will finish the house. This is one of many homes being built as part of the new Williams Bend neighborhood.