The first dozen houses in the Magnolia Park planned unit development (PUD) on 28th Street north of Willis Avenue are now under construction, with footings poured for several units and forms in place for the coming concrete pads.
The Perry City Council approved the final plat for the PUD in November 2020. The property is owned by Blue Ridge Perry LLC, according to county records, and the builder is Ankeny-based Oakstone Homes of Iowa LLC.
Brandon Cheek, owner of Oakstone Homes, said the Magnolia Park houses would be similar to those in Oakstone Homes’ Cottage series.
Community and Economic Development Director Mike Fastenau told the city council that the PUD would allow the builder 34 lots on the roughly 8-acre parcel, providing a range of home styles — detached single-family homes and duplexes — depending on the demand. All the houses would be built on a slab and be roughly 1,300 square feet, he said.
The homes would start around $220,000 and move upwards, Fastenau said.
Construction will occur two phases, he said, beginning with the first 12 houses facing 28th Street. The interior street and utilities will also be constructed in advance of the phase two development of the remaining 22 lots.
Perry City Council member Barb Wolling asked whether homes built on a slab would provide adequate shelter in the event of a tornado. Fastenau said that safe buildings or safe rooms were not required in most metro communities at this time, but that does not mean the council could not ask they be included.
Wolling said some provision for tornado safety seemed like a good idea, and Perry City Council member Dean Berkland agreed that it could potentially save lives.
Perry City Council member Chuck Schott raised questions about the restrictions on lot sizes in the PUD. Fastenau said PUDs offer developers more flexibility, but all the lots in Magnolia Park would have a 20-foot setback from the street but might have side setbacks less than the standard 8 feet but nothing less than 4 feet.
Fastenau said developments with smaller lots are stylish now and pointed to examples along Alice’s Road in Waukee and in the Heritage at Grimes development. Less ground means lower cost and less yard care and maintenance, he said, which is very appealing to many people.
Wolling also asked about sidewalks, and Fastenau confirmed there would be setback sidewalks in the PUD.
City Administrator Sven Peterson said the city is still receiving frequent inquiries about the city’s tax abatement program, and the program seems to be working in upgrading the housing stock. He said some abated properties will come onto the tax rolls this year as they reach the five-year mark in the abatement program.