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Planning process continues for Irongate housing development

DeKALB – It will be at least two years before a house is built in the massive Irongate subdivision that DeKalb leaders approved last week.

Developer Dave Patzelt of ShoDeen Construction estimates he will spend six to eight months preparing engineering reports for DeKalb City Council members to consider. After that, ShoDeen leaders will work to add the 458 acres to the DeKalb Sanitary District and decide which housing section within Irongate to build first.

“We’re not purposefully trying to delay anything,” Patzelt said. “Although this is a significant milestone, there’s more engineering and preliminary work that needs to be done. Eventually, it goes back to council.”

ShoDeen Construction officials have spent five years with city leaders discussing the massive subdivision, which will sit north of DeKalb High School, 501 W. Dresser Road, between Annie Glidden Road and First Street. City Council members voted, 6-2, Oct. 28 to approve preliminary plans, with 3rd Ward Alderwoman Kristen Lash and 1st Ward Alderman David Jacobson opposing it.

The final approval process should be shorter, as much of the planning and concepts are covered in the annexation agreement, interim City Manager Rudy Espiritu said. City leaders will look at the final plans for each phase to make sure they conform with the annexation agreement.

“In a lot of ways, this annexation has the final plans already, but it’s making sure everything does comply now that we’re doing the intimate details,” Espiritu said.

Once crews begin building homes in Irongate, ShoDeen leaders expect to start slowly, city documents show. ShoDeen expects the community would be built over 20 years, with about 21 units being built in the first year. It expects more units would be built each year, with about 80 units built in the 10th year.

None of the 123 planned townhomes can be built until at least 350 single-family homes are finished, and city officials and the town home owners’ association will be able to enforce a ban on townhome owners renting out the town homes.

The development includes 11 acres near its northwest side for an elementary school, several parks and two church sites. Christ Community Church, which presently meets at 1600 E. Lincoln Highway in DeKalb, is under contract to build a church on 11.7 acres east of DeKalb High School, Patzelt said.

DeKalb School District 428 leaders haven’t created any estimates on when or how many students could join the district from the subdivision, Superintendent Jim Briscoe said.

When Briscoe and board President Tom Matya met with city leaders, they focused on carving out land donations for a new elementary school as well as 13.6 acres northwest of the high school that could be used for future expansion.

“Until we see the housing development, it’s difficult to determine how quickly it will grow,” Briscoe said. “Will it be taking off soon or will it take 20 to 30 years? I don’t think anyone knows that.”

Irongate details 

• Total of 458 acres 

• Located north of Dresser Road between North Annie Glidden Road and First Street 

• 1,119 single-family homes 

• 350 senior dwelling units

• 123 townhomes 

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