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NHDC develops Arbor Estates master plan concept

Document is a guiding tool for the 70-acre residential subdivision

A master plan for the Arbor Estates residential subdivision was introduced by Newton Housing Development Corporation as a conceptualized design document to assist site preparations of the 70-acre parcel of land in northeast Newton.

Stressing it is only a concept and not a finalized document, NHDC Housing Director Bruce Showalter said at the June 3 Newton City Council meeting that the master plan is a way for the nonprofit to arrange the necessary site developments, including the much needed stormwater drainage.

“That is just a concept,” Showalter said. “There’s no final plan for anything there. It’s just a concept so we have a way to move forward and plan the drainage so it drains right and is taking care of erosion and those kinds of things.”

An introduction to the master plan identifies site grading, construction of local public streets, various utilities, a recreational trail system and stormwater management features such as a detention basin in the northeast corner of the property as future site developments.

Previously known as the Barton trust land, the undeveloped agricultural field has been evaluated for several different types of housing options. According to the master plan prepared and submitted by the engineering planning and consulting firm Bolton & Menk, lots include space for single-family homes (R-1), duplexes (R-2) and multi-family/row houses (R-3).

Erin Chambers, director of community development for the City of Newton, said the city’s ordinance is structured not to review master plans, echoing language included in the city council agenda documents that says “it is unusual” for the Newton City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission to review master planning documents since subdivisions are typically designed and reviewed in smaller increments in Newton.

However, Chambers added, staff have added this “extra step” in order to involve property owners in the surrounding neighborhoods and citizens in this “bigger picture planning process.”

Stormwater management is of particular importance in the master planning process. According to the master plan itself, an analysis of site conditions determined a water storage capacity of 16.17 acre-feet is needed on the property. This capacity meets the 100-year storm requirements based on the Statewide Urban Design and Specifications.

A detention basin, which will also serve as a community wet pond, will be used for water storage, with an outlet to an existing unnamed creek in the northeast area of the site. Chambers said the site can be designed so water will flow into the regional stormwater detention basin, which “can become an attractive feature for the neighborhood and the city at large.”

“That larger pond would then be incorporated into an extension of Agnes Patterson Park with a walking trail around it and become natural feature for the community,” she said. “And so in order to make sure we size that detention pond right we have to look at different concepts. We have to look at worse case scenario to probably what we all would like to see.”

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or

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