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All Huffman Court lots have been sold

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All 16 lots at the Huffman Court subdivision here have been sold, meaning there's no more town-owned residential lots left right now to buy and build on.

Chief Building Official and municipal planner Tyson Dennis, along with Fort Frances clerk Lisa Slomke, put the last “SOLD” sticker on the billboard advertising the subdivision on Friday morning.

Dennis said the town has no more serviced residential lots to sell. And while there are some privately-owned properties available, those are being bought up, as well.

He noted the next council will have to take a look at further residential development.

“We'll look at the next budget year and see what happens with Erin Crescent,” Dennis remarked.

“I'd like to see that go forward.”

The possibility of an Erin Crescent subdivision—which could yield up to 27 lots in the east end of town—has sparked debate several times over the past two years at the council table, with administration stressing to council about the need to increase the town's tax base.

Most recently, during the budget process this past spring, the majority of council voted against tendering phase one work on the proposed subdivision—even if the tender was not so much a commitment to start the project but as a means to get a better idea as to the true cost of the infrastructure work before council made any concrete decision to go ahead with it.

Dennis said the town also has possible residential opportunities with the recently-acquired Shevlin wood yard.

“But that's down the road, as well. It's not tomorrow," he stressed. ”There's a lot of planning to go forward with that.

“We're in a good spot but we have to look forward to the next one, too,” Dennis added.

“Here's 16 filled—where do we go from here?”

“It will be a matter that will be brought before the next council for consideration,” echoed Slomke, who handled all of the lot sales at Huffman Court.

“If we don't have residential lots, how do we increase the residential tax base?” she mused.

As some may recall, plans for the subdivision were put into motion some time ago.

Discussions regarding conditions of sale of lots, lot prices, and procedures to sell the lots first began in 2012.

Construction of Huffman Court, including services, landscaping, and roadways, was completed in 2014, with the first lot sold that summer.

Dennis noted a “built it and they will come” philosophy turned out to be true in this case, where the rate of lot sales increased as fewer lots became available and more homes started appearing.

As of now, seven homes have been completed, three are being built, and it's possible construction on two more will soon begin.

“It's all coming together really well,” Dennis said as he surveyed the new homes and landscaping.

“They look like show homes, like they should,” he added.

“It looks beautiful,” agreed Slomke.

Dennis noted all of the building activity has made for an “exciting” time in the community.

“It's been a busy two years since I jumped aboard,” he said.

“I never wonder in the morning what I'm going to do.”

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