Earliest start date for Foster Creek 2012, developers say

Published 7:41 pm Thursday, August 26, 2010

Foster Creek Preserve developers say the earliest construction could start on the approximately 1,000-acre development in Columbus would be in early 2012 because of the steps still remaining in the permitting process. And then it will still depend on the economy and market, they say.

Representatives of Foster Creek, owned by Forest City Land Group, held an informational meeting at Columbus Town Hall Tuesday and invited residents to discuss the project with them.

Foster Creeks Scott Kilby said developers wanted Tuesday’s meeting simply because they haven’t met with residents in a while and want Columbus to know they are still here and working.

The development, which is proposed to be located with entrances off Houston Road and Hwy. 108 (see map above), has a master plan already approved by the town with approximately 700 planned homesites.

Kilby says a draft development agreement was recently given to the town. Town officials will discuss the draft agreement and get public input prior to approval. State and federal permits are also necessary before beginning construction.

Residents asked developers where phase I would be and what type of buyers developers are targeting to purchase the lots.

Kilby said it still not been determined whether phase one will be off the Hwy. 108 entrance or the Houston Road entrance. The target market, he said, was originally visioned to be for second home retirees, but now developers see the location as good for primary homes of all kinds. Kilby says he mainly sees the market as folks who are wanting to move down south to be closer to children and grandchildren.

David Weiss asked how likely Foster Creek is to sell to another developer. Kilby said he and others have put a lot of work into this project and there is no reason to think Foster Creek will not see the project through.

Kilby added that if for some reason the project did fall into different hands, Columbus would be protected by its new ordinances on large developments.

You have a good safety net with your new ordinances and guidelines, he said.

Another resident asked whether the community would be gated. Kilby said that it will depend on what the potential buyers want. He said it could have one section gated with others open it just depends on what the market is looking for.

Foster Creek first met with Columbus in February, 2008 and in May, 2008, the town placed an eight-month moratorium on major subdivisions in order to enact more stringent ordinances for large developments.

We were part of that process, said Kilby.

In early 2009, Foster Creek started the master plan process, which went through several reviews, public meetings, then planning board and town council approval. Earlier this year, Foster Creek received a special use permit from the town in order to construct the type of development proposed.

Plans are for there to be a variety of lots, including cluster homes (four unit/two story) with a variety of lot sizes, ranging from 1/10 acre, 1/4 acre and 1/2 acre to one, two and three acre lots. The largest lots are seven to eight acres. There are 181 townhomes planned with the rest being different sized individual lots, according to developers.

Columbus Mayor Eric McIntyre said that when a development is about 700 lots planned, the build-out could span over 15 to 20 years. He said Foster Creek is not just going to be building over the next couple of years; it will be a long, drawn out process.