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The Rapid City Council will consider Monday whether to approve what officials believe is the largest residential subdivision that the city has seen in decades.

Tentatively located south and east of the East Anamosa Street and East North Street intersection, the 77-acre Shepherd Hills project promises to make 265 single-family lots available in a range of different prices. Perhaps more importantly, its developers say that it will fill what many see as a growing need for more affordable housing options. Included in the development will be 250 apartments.

“There's not enough homes in Rapid City," Dream Design International Vice President Kyle Treloar said last week.

Standing in the grassy pasture where the development will be located, he continued, "we’ll be able to provide the need there.”

The firm was not immediately able to provide price information on the affordable units. In that same development, Treloar said that single-family units will go from $160,000 for workforce housing to $350,000 for high-end homes.

Although he said he was not aware of any plans for affordable developments similar in scope to those planned for Shepherd Hills, Rapid City Community Development Director Ken Young said that another subdivision near to it could further address the "strong need" for them.

A separate Dream Design project, the 23-acre Shepherd Hills West subdivision, will reportedly contain a mix of affordable units and mobile homes. Young said the latter could appear in the form of tiny homes, which have cropped up across the country as part of a movement that emphasizes simple living in smaller quarters.

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He said that they would hopefully be priced close to or even under $100,000.

Currently, Young said the development department is exploring several different methods of encouraging the development of affordable housing units that more closely fit the widely held definition for the term, meaning they would cost less than 50 to 80 percent of the median household income. For example, he said that staff has held talks with a Minneapolis-based firm that specializes in building to that standard about the possibility of developing in Rapid City.

Another option that Young said is on the table is an amendment to city zoning code that would enable developers and landowners to plat smaller lots than is currently allowed. He also said that the city could also begin to offer incentives to developers that would make the construction of affordable housing more enticing.

During a phone call Friday, Young added that while affordability is of concern to the city, so too is the lack of available economy and luxury housing options. Mayor Steve Allender, members of the Rapid City Council and other officials have previously echoed his concern.

"I think we have a need for all types of housing," he said.

At the site of the Shepherd Hills subdivision, meanwhile, construction could begin later this summer. Treloar said the first batch of homes could be available as soon as this fall.

The 10-phase project is expected to take five to eight years to complete. 

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— Contact Matt Guerry at matthew.guerry@rapidcityjournal.com

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