Councilapproves “innovative project.”

Published on Thu, Mar 16, 2006 by Meg Olson

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Council approves “innovative project.”

By Meg Olson

Blaine City Council has approved a preliminary plat for a vanguard subdivision that will highlight affordable small homes and lots of shared open space.

The Stonewood Cottages project, approved by council at their March 13 meeting, will create 14 single–family lots on a wedge-shaped three acres north of Hughes Avenue and abutting the railroad tracks. The first phase of the project will be five regular single-family lots along Hughes Avenue separated by strips of landscaped vegetation.

The second phase will include nine lots behind the above mentioned properties, clustered around a central common area and separated from the rail line by substantial shared open space areas.

“It’s an interesting and fairly new configuration for residential development,” said Blaine community development director Terry Galvin. “It’s an innovative project and I think it’s the first here in a growing national trend and it’s good.”

The clustered homes are at a higher density than normally allowed in the zone but that density is offset by having more than half the property set aside for shared open space. Parking is located away from the homes, which are accessed by paths through the central commons.

“It’s more like an old fashioned neighborhood woven together with sidewalks and gardens,” Galvin said. A homeowners association would maintain common areas and insure homes are built to the craftsman cottage standards set for the development.

Project proponent Jim Lucas said the homes would be small, all limited to a 1,000 square foot area, and modestly priced. “We’re hoping to keep them in the low 200s,” he said. “A good empty-nester house where you want the quality but you don’t need the square footage. The same thing for young people, making their first home affordable.”