Ranson is undergoing an interesting transition from a small industrial town to a community that blends a developing commercial district, major corporations, and quiet residential neighborhoods. The city has seen progress in local development activity as a result of establishing a clear vision for development and with the assistance of state and federal infrastructure grants.
For example, the Department of Transportation (DOT) TIGER II Planning and construction Grants allowed for a Complete Streets plan for the important Fairfax Blvd-George Street corridor, which will ensure safe and easy downtown access. A Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Challenge Planning Grant helped Ranson develop a zoning code and land development regulations that encourages more compact, walkable development patterns. Finally, an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Areawide Planning Grant allowed Ranson to prioritize cleanup and reuse of contaminated lots within the historic urban core.
Ranson has had much success with these grants; a recent recognition of effort was the regional Phoenix Award for Excellence in Brownfield Redevelopment, in 2013. As a result of this success, many developers are planning new housing construction, bringing thousands of new units to market over the next several years.
Residential Housing Market
Developers require a better understanding of the housing market’s role in community planning and economic development. While Ranson’s zoning and development codes are very builder-friendly, the best methods for developer solicitation and attraction are not always apparent. In 2017, the City Council commissioned an update to the Residential Market Study prepared for the 2012 Comprehensive Plan. Duggal Real Estate Advisors conducted a comprehensive market study of the for-sale and for-rent residential markets in Ranson to guide the City in understanding key housing issues, market opportunities and barriers, and other issues that may impact community development.
- The market for new housing in Ranson should continue to be stable and strong.
- Demand forecasts suggest between 35-45 new for-sale housing units could be in demand annually, on average. The realization of demand is heavily tied to the supply of product, and some years is likely to be higher and some years is likely to be lower.
- The majority of this demand would be for single-family detached (SFD) homes.
- For-rent opportunities in the city will be sporadic and opportunistic. The demand for rental in the county is limited.
- Our research suggests that between 10-20% of buyers in Jefferson County would consider a Smart Growth/Traditional Neighborhood Design (TND) product.
- The statistical demand model suggests that even with primarily TND product in Ranson, the demand for housing should stay similar to the past.
- TND projects in the market are accepted and sell as well as conventional product. While some buyers will not consider TND, there are other locations within the county or even the city for them to purchase conventional product.
- There is limited supply of TND product in the county, and those buyers that would like that lifestyle will likely gravitate to Ranson, including those that otherwise might not have considered Ranson City living.
- It will be critical for the projects to be well-executed and truly walkable, so that buyers giving up a large yard, will have the trade-off of walkability, good design, and access to services and amenities.
- The City should proceed cautiously when working with developers and builders with experience and desire for TND product to align with City vision and ensure consumer satisfaction with the right product in the right location.