Over the past few weeks, a group of Clinton residents and their supporters have attended Clinton City Council and city Planning Commission meetings to voice their displeasure about the planned Riverstone Crossing subdivision.
Bill Wilford, under the name of Riverstone Development, purchased the 22.68 acres north of Springdale Cemetery and east of Ninth Avenue North in March from P and B Ventures for $270,000. His plan is to build villas that are 1,500 and 1,600 square feet in the center, with custom houses around the outside. The first addition of the subdivision would have about 26 homes, Wilford said.
Villas would cost between $280,000 and $325,000 to purchase. Houses would have price tags of between $350,000 and $450,000.
We believe it’s a great plan. Progress is good.
But several neighbors have presented complaints to city officials, claiming the city and Wilford kept the plans too quiet, are illegally removing trees and allowing wrongful destruction the ecosystem.
They also are upset because while the primary entrance would be Springdale Drive, a secondary entrance into the subdivision is needed under the International Fire Code adopted by the City of Clinton. It requires two routes of egress in any subdivision with more than 30 dwelling units.
To get that second road, the developer wants to connect Ninth Avenue North to Springdale Drive. Dissenters are against using Ninth Avenue North – which now ends with a cul-de-sac – as that entrance and exit. They don’t want the road opened up, citing increased traffic and safety concerns.
The Plan Commission and city administration over the past few weeks have addressed those issues, saying the subdivision was not created in secret, they did not have to notify nearby residents, the clearing of trees is legal, and the road that would cut through Ninth Avenue North won’t be used by through traffic for quite a while. The city has said it could keep that access gated for emergency vehicles only until more than 30 units are completed in the new development.
Problems solved, right?
Maybe, but what bothers us is the repeated claim by dissenting residents that there’s no reason to build it because Clinton doesn’t have a market for $350,000 homes.
We have statistics and statements that point otherwise.
First of all, though, we’re throwing into the mix reports through the years that plant managers and upper management of Clinton companies tend not to settle in this community because of the lack of available upper-end housing.
Now like everything that starts out with the words “we heard”, we know that we have to be able to support our belief that Clinton does have a market for homes in that price range.
So we went to realtor.com and found the following. On Aug. 18:
• There were 195 homes of all prices ranges for sale in the City of Clinton.
• Of them 134 houses were in the price range of up to $99,000, with 99 – or 75 percent of them – listed as sale pending or held on contingency.
• Thirty-five homes were listed in the $99,000 to $200,000 price range. Of them, 24 are in the $99,000 to $150,000 price range, with half of them listed as pending/sold as of that day. The remaining 11 homes were in the $150,000 to $200,000 price range, with five of those listed as sale pending.
• Sixteen homes were in the price range of $200,000 to $450,000. Of those homes, six of them, 38 percent of the inventory, were listed as sale pending.
Clinton Realtor Steve Howes says Clinton has next to nothing when it comes to homes in the $250,000 to $350,000 price range. Add to it that Clinton City Administrator Matt Brooke said homes in that range are needed in Clinton to entice people who work here or are considering working here to move to the city and not to surrounding towns that have homes of higher value.
He says that with Nestle Purina and Timken Drives expanding in Clinton and LyondellBasell hiring, Clinton has the opportunity to add residents to its population and properties to its tax base. Clinton has plenty of low-income housing, he said, but demand for higher-income homes exceeds the supply.
If we want growth, we need housing inventory that matches the demand in our community. If not, we will continue to lose population to the Quad-Cities and DeWitt because they meet the demand for housing in this inventory gap.
The City of Clinton needs housing inventory and homes over $200,000 can and do sell in this community.
The numbers are there.
Don’t sell yourself short, Clinton.