National home builder looking at LaValle property

Home builder D.R. Horton provided this concept plan to the city for council perusal. The land is owned by former mayor Marvin LaValle. — Submitted

HUGO — Before getting too much skin in the game, a developer is testing the water to see if city leaders are receptive to its housing plans.

D. R. Horton, a company that calls itself “America’s Builder,” presented a concept plan to City Council at its June 15 meeting. Named Clearwater Cove, the residential development includes 89 lots on vacant land south of Frenchman Road (CSAH 8) and east of Everton Avenue next to Victor Gardens.

The 32-acre property is owned by Marvin LaValle, who signed a contract with the company to develop two parcels south and east of Clearwater Creek that would include the homes, stormwater ponding, a park, and sidewalk, trail and road connections.

The developer is looking for comments from City Council before moving forward in the approval process, said City Administrator Bryan Bear.  

Thirty-two homes would be built in Phase One of the project with Oneka Parkway to Frenchman Road being constructed in Phase Two. A homeowners association would also be established for the development to maintain community areas, landscaping and possibly a water reuse system.

Variances will be requested for setbacks to make the lots smaller than required by ordinance. A minimum lot size would be 8,100 square feet, for example, when 10,400 is required; width would be 65 feet when 80 is required and a front yard setback of 25 feet is proposed where 30 is required. A 30-foot rear yard setback matches the required ordinance.

“The developer is asking for flexibility,” noted Rachel Juba, city planner.

Described as quality homes with quality materials, square footage would range from 2,500 to 3,500 with two- or three-car garages. There would be eight housing styles from which to choose.

Horton Land Development Manager Mike Suel told the council his company is a “one-stop shop” as both developer and builder. They hope to build the first model in November for a spring opening. When asked the price point, he said upper $300,000 to mid $400,000 with upgrades.

Named after its founder, D.R. Horton has built homes in 27 states for more than 35 years, according to its website. The company is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas with a Minnesota office in Lakeville.

Mayor Tom Weidt said he appreciates the builder’s willingness to tackle the water reuse issue (for irrigation), something not discussed before with single-family homes, adding, “in a perfect world, Oneka Parkway would be built right away.”

Councilman Phil Klein said Clearwater Cove looks like “a beautiful development.” He also asked about streetlights, which Suel said they install. “Walkable communities with good lighting are big sellers,” he told council.

When asked by Councilwoman Becky Petryk if people are happy with the lot size, Suel said the company has had good success with those lots. Most of the property will be in the rear and offer scenic views of stormwater ponds or Clearwater Creek.

Juba said staff believes the layout exceeds the city’s standards for residential developments. The proposed properties are guided as low-density residential, according to the 2030 land use plan, making the concept consistent with the city’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan.

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