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Developers scramble to build a dozen new housing projects before demand evaporates

As housing prices across the country skyrocket, and people in Madras search for more housing options, many developers are capitalizing.

“As the rest of Central Oregon gets more and more expensive, people are looking to be out of the bigger cities,” said George Hale, a developer with Woodhill Homes. “We’re putting in housing because we know there’s a need and we can sell it.”

Hale is right about the need for more housing in Madras. At a recent planning Madras Planning Commission meeting, chairman Joel Hessel said, “People are crying out for housing, that’s all we hear. People need places to live, and that’s what we’re working towards.”

Currently, there are 10 developments in varying stages being built in Madras, and one each in Crooked River Ranch and Culver. While these developments often take many years to build and often change during the process, if builders complete all these projects they would add 859 homes to the county.

Under Construction

The city of Madras currently has six developments in construction stages. These developments range in progress from initial infrastructure improvements to the final stages of home construction.

Willowbrook

The Willowbrook subdivision is located on the north end of Madras, near the golf course and airport. The subdivision, built by MonteVista Homes, is in its final stages of building. They have just platted their fourth and fifth phases, adding the final 42 homes to the 153-lot subdivision.

The homes in the subdivision are three- to four-bedroom homes, ranging from 1,468 to 2,500 square feet. The subdivision offers specific floorplans for buyers to choose. Most of the homes have already been purchased. The developer lists prices in the high $300,000, but all available houses on their website list for over $449,000. It was approved in 2020 and the developer expects to finish building in the next year.

Summer Place

Summer Place is located in southeast Madras, near the Strawberry Heights subdivision. When completed, the development will be a manufactured home park with 59 spaces. The developer is currently working on infrastructure improvements, including the expansion of Southeast Tenth Street, to serve the development.

Park Place

This subdivision, located at H Street and Culver Highway, is in the first phase of development, working on infrastructure. Park Place will be a 44-parcel subdivision and will connect to a street stub in the Juniper Heights subdivision, and will also involve the extension of H Street through the development.

PMG PHOTO: KIVA HANSON - Rock Cress Townhomes are being built behind the Yarrow Apartments, seen in the left corner of the photo.

Rock Cress

Rock Cress is a ten-parcel townhouse subdivision, approved in 2022. The townhomes are located on the northeast side of the Heights at Yarrow Apartments, which recently finished construction of its first 48 units. The developer has recently begun excavation, but the finished townhomes are still about a year out.

Heights at Yarrow

The Heights at Yarrow are part of a large development project led by Creations Northwest. The Heights are one- and two-bedroom apartments located in east Madras. The apartment cluster includes 48 completed units and another 75 units in the works. The apartments currently rent for between $1,425 and $1,775 a month.

Aside from the apartments and townhomes planned in the area, the developer plans 28 to 40 free-standing cottages, ranging in size rom 750 to 1,200 square feet.

Approved

While a construction boom is happening across the county, many developments are still waiting in the wings. Four developments in Madras and Culver have been approved by the cities involved but have yet to begin construction.

Sagebrook

The Sagebrook subdivision is a 188-lot development that will be located south of Loucks Road and north of the Morning Crest neighborhood in northeast Madras.

The development, approved by the planning commission on July 6, will have 148 single family homes and 40 townhouses when complete. The developer, Woodhill Homes, has a number of subdivisions in Deschutes County, and is also the developer of the Haystack Butte subdivision recently approved in Culver.

During the public hearing for Sagebrook, residents of nearby areas expressed concern over the lot sizes, traffic impact and safety concerns. While many expressed that they viewed the lots as packed in, all lots sizes meet city regulations, except for two townhome lots that will be adjusted.

Another point of contention was the proposed park. According to city standards, each new subdivision is required to dedicated at least 8% of the gross area of the property to recreational purposes. Based on that, this 35-acre development should have 2.83 acres of park, however, only .95 are proposed. In lieu of deeding more park land to the city, the city is allowing the developer to either pay a fee of $55,172 to the city or develop and landscape the park with those funds.

The development is to be built in four phases, with the first to begin within a year, and the final to begin in the next five years. Along with developing the subdivision, the developer is also responsible for improvements along the sections of Loucks Road that abut the subdivision, and along the abutting segment of Kincade, which is currently a dirt road.

Sun Ridge

The Sun Ridge subdivision will be located west of Culver Highway and the Juniper Crest subdivision. The 202-lot subdivision was approved in June of 2021. The 58.69 lot subdivision plans lots well above the city standards, ranging from about 7,500 to about 13,000 sq. ft.

The subdivision was originally approved over 10 years ago, according to the developer, but the project lapsed due to the recession.

The subdivision intends to use the hillside landscape of the area to its advantage, including a row of houses with lot sizes above 10,000 sq. ft. along the ridgeline. A timeline for construction has not been established yet, but the homes will be built in nine phases.

Willow Heights

Willow Heights is a 41-parcel subdivision located between Grizzly Road and City View Street, north of the traffic circle on Grizzly. The development has led to some sewer adjustments, and the homes were considered in the Grizzly Road sewer project.

Haystack Butte

The most contentious of the recent developments in the county, to this point, is Haystack Butte, a 162-lot subdivision located at the south end of Culver, straddling Highway 361 south of Iris Lane. The development was approved May 18 by the Culver Planning Commission, after much oppositional public testimony.

The public raised concerns about the impact on schools, the small lot sizes and the impact on traffic in the small town. The development faced much public ridicule in the planning commission hearings but was eventually approved before moving to the council.

The Culver City Council, however, was not able to discuss the development before it passed the deadline for commentary, due to a lack of proper notice given for the meeting.

“I would say it was not a smooth process, I think we elected the commission to do its job, but there is a lot that in testimony are directly opposed to it,” said Jacob Schwab, mayor of Culver. “There’s a lot of frustration across the board. There is lots of frustration because it’s a big change (for the city), it’s not a small thing.”

The developer, Woodhill Homes, plans to start building the homes early next year. As part of the development, the developer is responsible for a large sewer extension, which pushes back the timeline.

The 162 homes will be built across seven phases, in about five years from breaking ground.

Applying for approval

While all of the above developments have received approval from the various governmental bodies, two more are in the application stage. These developments have not been approved yet, but developers are working on or have submitted applications for them.

Bridgeview

The Bridgeview development is a proposed 52-lot residential development located south of B Street, between Kincade and D Streets.

The development proposes 52 lots, well above the city standards in size. The lots, ranging in size from 7,500 to over 11,000 square feet, have three small cul-de-sacs, and work around existing homes in the area. The application is still in early stages but the developer is working with the city on the development plan.

Crooked River Ranch

A new development is also in the application phase on Crooked River Ranch. The 54-lot development is located between Shad and Mustang roads on the east side of Quail Road. The development is among much of the already developed areas of Crooked River Ranch and has requested a re-zoning by the county.

Currently, the land is zoned rangeland, but the developer has requested it be re-zoned to rural residential-2. The subdivision includes lot sizes of two acres or more and has two lots of parks currently.


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