The year isn’t over yet and Denison has already passed the number of housing permits the city issued over the previous year.
Kimberly Murray, Denison Director of Community and Development Services, said the city has been experiencing a dramatic increase in permits over the last few years. In 2018, the city issued a total of 162 housing permits. As of the start of November 2019, the city was up to 174 permits, with more than a month to go.
City Planner Bill Medina addressed the need to begin conducting bi-monthly meetings at the November Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, stating the backlog of permits was too great.
“The most growth is in our newly platted subdivisions, including Gateway Village,” Medina said. “We’re seeing more new, single-family permits issued. We have quite a bit of infill development going on as well.”
Murray said much of the success in renovating the city’s housing has come from a number of new programs and incentives the city has implemented, beginning in 2014. Among those are incentives for affordable housing, which Murray said is important to the city.
“The city initiated the demolition program for some of the houses within our downtown area that were no longer safe to be habitable,” Murray said. “We started giving those to builders to put single family homes on those lots. We also have incentives to develop. Now what’s happening is that’s spurred builders to buy up some of those lots and homes that aren’t livable now and put up a few houses. If you drive around downtown you see that. It’s been very exciting to see the growth of affordable housing in our community.”
However, it’s more than single family housing. Murray said the Hyde Park apartments that began construction last year were another exciting project for the city.
Murray went on to say that most of the new growth has been taking place on the west side of the city, closer to Gateway Village. In town, that growth is mostly downtown and on the east side of town, where older houses are the most in need of being updated. Murray also mentioned a new neighborhood that was recently approved near Willis and Crawford, and said the city does have a need for more rental units.
“We’re seeing families that want to downsize,” Murray said. “We’ve got some builders who want to provide for that in our community. (Housing growth) has been an ongoing trend. We’ve shot up dramatically over the last few years.”