Urbana debates creating more energy-efficient housing

By Eric Steckling

The green movement may soon be coming to an Urbana neighborhood near you.

The Urbana City Council discussed designs Monday night for a new subdivision on Kerr Avenue that would feature affordable, energy-efficient homes for consumers.

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Dennis Roberts, Ward 5, said a neighborhood like this could really boost the city’s image.

“It would be exciting for the city to have a premier development and affordable housing,” Roberts said.

The council plans to build the housing on approximately three acres of city land. There would be 46 to 48 dwelling units, with the possibility of shared community gardens or recreation areas. An energy analysis of the neighborhood design concludes that a 75 percent reduction in energy consumption may be possible.

Danielle Chynoweth, Ward 2, said that while being energy-efficient is a great goal, the city must also remember to consider those who may live there.

“I think that if we’re going to make this a model neighborhood, the showcasing aspect is going to be important,” Chynoweth said. “So, how people enter, and what it looks like, and what they see.”

The city will now look for a developer to finalize the site design and make another presentation to the city council in the upcoming months.