FREEPORT — Futuristic homes are on the city’s horizon.
The City Council voted unanimously tonight to take one of the first steps toward building smart houses in two Freeport subdivisions. The Rose Ridge Development is a partnership between local businesses and a Rockford developer to create energy-efficient, single-family homes.
Tonight’s vote authorizes Mayor Jim Gitz to submit a letter to the Enterprise Zone Committee indicating the city’s support of the Rose Ridge’s Development proposal. The city will request the expansion of the enterprise zone to allow the development group to build homes on 30 existing lots. The expansion also would offer benefits to both the builder and future buyer of the home. Upon certification, the builder would have building permit fees waived and see a sales tax exemption on building materials. The buyer would not have to pay property taxes for three years, Anne Sadler, owner of Choice Realty in Freeport, said.
“Those 30 lots that have been sitting there for 10 to 15 years, basically not producing any tax money, will become tax-producing properties for the rest of time,” Sadler said.
Sadler said there has not been a commercial venture to build new homes in Freeport since 2008, and the construction should help with decreasing property values.
“It’s been way too long,” Sadler said. “We’ve been working basically since 2008 to try to get some more construction going in Freeport, so it’s been a long time coming.”
Alderman-at-large Andrew Chesney spoke in favor of the development project.
“For the past couple years, Council and the Mayor have said we need to do whatever it takes to put single-family homes in the city of Freeport,” he said.
The lots are in the Countryside Estates and Rose Meadows subdivisions and the homes will be built by Darko Gligorevic of Rockford-based Ambassador Homes. While there is potential for condos and multi-family homes, the group is initially looking to build a three-bedroom, two bathroom, 1,500-square-foot ranch-style house as a model home. Smart home capabilities will be included in the $169,900 estimated cost. A smart home allows the owner to control house systems such as temperature, lighting and security from a phone or tablet.
Sadler estimated it would take up to six months to get the enterprise zone approved, get each taxing body to sign on and receive approval from the state. Sadler said Gligorevic is ready to begin construction on the homes as soon the final approval is received. The goal is to build five new homes this year.
“As soon as we get that approval, he plans on digging a basement,” Sadler said.
Derrick Mason: 815-232-0133; email@example.com; @derrickhmason