Oct. 2, 2006

Howard Lake housing: Dutch Lake Preserve

By Jenni Sebora

“Something unique,” is what developer and builder Gary Baron of MAB Homes, Inc. strives for in Dutch Lake Preserve housing development in Howard Lake.

This brand new development got its start with the recent completion of its first house, a twin home. The first phase will consist of 12 twin homes and seven single-family home sites. Forty-two home sites will make up the Dutch Lake Preserve housing development when it is complete.

Each home site will have access to common space and natural areas via a trail system running throughout the community, which adds to the uniqueness that Baron aims for. And Baron considers the development to be its own community within the larger community of Howard Lake.

Dutch Lake Preserve is an association-managed residential community offering its residents homes that dwell in the midst of wetlands, open spaces, trails, and park-like settings, including a pond with a fountain and picnic areas.

The lots vary in size to allow as much green space as possible, Baron noted. Each lot will border and have access to green space and wetlands – so that “residents are not looking into neighbors’ windows,” Baron said. This was important to Baron.

“I did not go for density. I went more for visual aesthetics,” Baron said of Dutch Lake Preserve.

For these reasons, Baron opted for this conservation development to be association-managed.

“Living in an easy-living community will assure that your neighborhood will be maintained in the same high level of beauty throughout the years – adding continued value,” the website www.mab-homes.com stated.

“Some people balk at an association, but it maintains the integrity of the development,” Baron said.

“It will be professionally managed – it will be maintained,” Baron emphasized.

At this point, MAB Homes is the only builder in the development, but Baron is open to looking at other builders.

There are certain architectural and visual requirements that must be maintained in each home built in the development though, Baron noted.

MAB Homes prides itself on utilizing up-to-date building products and procedures that far exceed the state’s minimum building requirements, the website noted.

Some of the standard MAB home features include, vinyl siding and trim, brick accents in front, 2 x 6 exterior wall construction, no maintenance, ThermoTech windows, and spray foam insulation, which Baron noted reduces heating and cooling costs by about 50 percent.

MAB Homes utilizes conservation construction – “green building techniques,” Baron noted, in the interior as well, including a tankless water heater, which reduces energy costs, as well as high-end carpeting recycled out of pop bottles, among other features.

Affordable living is also something the Dutch Lake Preserve development has to offer, Baron noted. Twin home prices start at $170,000, and $200,000 for single-family homes.

The mix of twin homes and single family housing allows residents options, Baron noted. Baron feels that a twin home is a wonderful option for many people, such as those who are just starting out, and for people who want to down-size, such as people moving from a farm.

The mix also allows people to move to a different housing option within the development, from a twin home to a single family home, or single family to a twin home.

Baron noted that Howard Lake was a good spot for this housing development for a variety of reasons. The location offered wetland area and opportunities, and Baron said that the City of Howard Lake was very open to his development desires and wishes.

“I like the communities out west,” Baron said. He utilizes as much local talent as possible for his development, such as an engineer from the area and a local bank.

Baron also has lots available in Dutch Lake Woods on Mallard Lake, Princeton, and Zimmerman. Because Baron likes the communities out west, he has also built homes in such communities as Maple Lake, Waverly, Watertown, Zimmerman and Princeton.

“An ‘easy living’ neighborhood with trails, wetland views, and nature at your doorstep,” is how Baron describes Dutch Lake Preserve housing development.

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