Spearfish to partner with developers for workforce housing

A new subdivision is in the beginning stages of planning, which will add 60-100 new homes to Spearfish within the next five years. Pioneer file photo

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SPEARFISH — City officials voted to approve moving forward with a plan to construct 60-100 new homes in Spearfish to accommodate the growing concern for adequate workforce housing.

“Every single state level meeting that I go to, this is part of the discussion across the state, we don’t have workforce and we don’t have workforce housing, so which comes first,” said Mayor Dana Boke during Monday’s city council meeting.

City Administrator Mike Harmon gave a brief overview of the plan, which is still in very preliminary stages.

“We will assume the option and purchase the land, we’ll work with the developer to basically design the layout of the particular development,” he said. “We’ll construct the streets, the wet utilities, and work with the providers to construct the dry utilities and then we’ll put in any of the other pertinences as necessary; street signage, lights, so on and so forth.”

The land in question is a 40-acre parcel along Colorado Boulevard, which is currently under a purchase agreement with an option to purchase an additional 20-acre plot adjacent to it.

“That purchase agreement is fully assignable to the city or any other party that we may deem appropriate,” Harmon said.

The city plans to engage with private developers to create a layout for the site. 

“We’re (the city is) very good at building roads and putting in water mains and maintaining streets and maintaining sewer mains and the private sector is very good at building homes and selling those homes and dressing up those homes,” Harmon said.

One of the main components to the development is to keep the homes under an affordable price bracket. Harmon said  

Fifty percent of the homes that will be built will have an original selling price under $275,000, 30% will be under $225,000, and no less than 20% between $100,000 and $175,000.

“As homes in Spearfish do, these are going to appreciate in value quickly, but we just need to have some homes available for that entry-level service professional looking for their first home and looking for something that’s affordable,” Boke added.

Requests for proposal were sent out Tuesday with a tentative proposal due date of Dec. 10. 

“City staff will sit down and evaluate the proposals thereafter and make a recommendation to council on the 16th of December,” Harmon explained.

In addition to alleviating the city’s need for affordable housing, Harmon said there could be room in the new development for some outdoor recreational space as well.

“I believe there is an opportunity for the council to fold in green space, or … field space, mountain biking, that type of thing as a part of this project,” he said. 

Although much can change as plans become more and more finalized, Boke said she is excited to be taking steps to address the needs of the community.

“It will be in phases, it won’t all happen in one year,” she said. “I believe in pride of ownership and believe this will be a great addition to our community.”

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