(Posted July 13, 2022)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Pulte Group, the third largest home builder in the United States, plans to build a 236-home residential development in London on 73 acres located between Lafayette Street and East High Street.
The company plans to offer at least five models of ranch-style and two-story homes, all single-family, ranging in size from 1,600 square feet to 3,000 square feet. The average price point will be $350,000.
To accommodate their preferred design for the development, Pulte Group has requested a zoning change from R-3 (residential) to PUD (planned unit development).
City council will hold a public hearing on the zoning change request at its July 21 meeting set for 6:30 p.m. at city hall, 20 S. Walnut St. Following the hearing, council will hold a third reading on the zoning legislation and could put the measure to a vote at that time.
“Council is not deciding ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to allow the development. The current zoning of R-3 already allows for the development. The vote is whether to grant the PUD,” Mayor Patrick Closser said.
Pulte Group plans to dedicate 14.6 acres (20 percent of the overall acreage) to open space for pocket parks, playgrounds, and a multi-purpose path. Additionally, their design calls for 28-foot wide streets with on-street parking on one side only. The PUD designation would allow for such design elements.
Jim Hilz, director of land planning and entitlement, said the company is excited about the London project and property.
“This site is amazing. Very rarely do we get a site like this,” he said.
Typically, Pulte Group builds further out from town centers. The London property already has access to water and sewer services, and restaurants and groceries are within walking or biking distance–a feature popular with homeowners, Hilz said.
As designed, the development would have three access points, the primary one being located off of East High Street. The secondary access would be from Cambridge Drive off of Lafayette, with the third located at Chaning Drive and Bristol Avenue.
In the narrow portion of the property, where the east side meets the west side, the company plans to install a traffic calming circle to lower traffic speed and reduce cut-through traffic.
The eastern side of the development would feature a 1.7-acre park, playgrounds, shelters, community mailbox facilities, and open play areas. The western side of the development would feature a 1-acre park, a shelter, and mailbox facilities. Sidewalks are planned for both sides of the streets throughout the development. Where possible, stormwater ponds will be presented as amenities.
Pulte Group plans to offer 171 lots measuring 52 feet wide by 125 feet deep and 65 lots measuring 62 feet wide by 125 feet deep.
The design calls for placing open spaces, larger lots and larger setbacks where the development sits adjacent to existing homes. Landscape buffering and drainage improvements also are part of the project.
“When we designed this site, we really looked at how it would impact existing property owners,” Hilz said. “We really want to be good neighbors.”
Pulte Group hopes to start construction 12 to 14 months from now with completion of the entire project over the course of the next eight years. When completely built out, the development will represent an investment of $82 million in total real estate value, Hilz said.
Mayor Patrick Closser welcomes the prospect of more housing in London.
“We need to embrace that growth, because if you are not growing, you are dying,” he said at a recent council meeting.
Closser said housing brings many positives to a community: people to fill jobs, increased home values, new businesses to serve the increased population, and tax revenue.
“If you see construction in your neighborhood, remember, a lot of thought, planning and money went into that because a developer sees an area with high potential,” he said.