Fairfield Ledger
https://fairfield-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1713022

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 19, 2018

Housing units planned for New Chicago

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Dec 20, 2017
Photo by: ANDY HALLMAN/Ledger photo Gail Crotta, left, shows councilor Daryn Hamilton and the rest of Fairfield’s city council a map of the planned unit development she and Buzz Allen wish to build in New Chicago. The council approved the first reading of an ordinance to alter the zoning of the area from B1 General Business to a planned unit development.

A group is planning to build eight housing units on West Grimes near the part of town known as New Chicago.

Buzz Allen and Gail Crotta are directors of Accelerated Learning Foundation, and own about three-fifths of the block between West Grimes and West Depot avenues, and between North Third and North Fourth streets. They presented a plan to the Fairfield City Council Monday to build two triplexes and two single-family residences in the middle of the block, between the businesses on North Fourth Street, and the old rectory and DeCoursey Hall on North Third Street, which they own.

Jeffrey Hedquist, a marketer and collaborator in the project, told the council New Chicago is one of the most blighted parts of town, but also the one with the most potential. He said the units would be targeted to two demographic groups: those 65-years-old and older, and “millennials,” or young people. The homes would be built according to Vastu specifications, and would include gardens and other landscaping to make them inviting. They would all be rentals.

The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the council accept a planned unit development for the housing project, which the council did. The council passed the first reading of an ordinance to rezone the land from B1 General Business District to a planned unit development.

Assuming the council approves all three readings of the ordinance, Hedquist said construction will likely start in the spring or summer of 2018. He said parking would be included at the property.

Mayor Ed Malloy said he was pleased to see the economic activity the Accelerated Learning Foundation has planned for the area. Councilors asked the developers if they would have to remove any trees, and the developers said they would not. In fact, they want to maintain as much greenery as they can, and talked about adding gardens to the area.

The developers said they don’t know how much the total project will cost, but they did share a few facts about the buildings. Hedquist said they will be “zero net” also known as “passive” homes, meaning they will be so well insulated that they will barely need heating or cooling. He said the homes would be built with fire resistant panels that are light and easy to put together. The developers said the units would be for low- to moderate-income households. Hedquist said the group is exploring the idea of obtaining state tax credits.

Fairfield Economic Development Association executive director Joshua Laraby said he was pleased to learn Monday the council is behind more housing construction.

“We’re happy for the council’s support of this development,” he said. “This is a great project to continue the revitalization of the New Chicago district.”

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