A housing study of the DeForest Windsor area will look at current and future supply and demand for the two communities.

“It’s a data need for both communities,” said Mark Roffers, of MDRoffers Consulting LLC. “Both villages are operating as one housing market by and large.”

Staff for the villages of Windsor and DeForest recommended hiring MDRoffers Consulting LLC to complete the study. The firm does an annual housing summary on behalf of Windsor, DeForest and the DeForest Area School District.

At its meeting Thursday, Oct. 15, the Windsor Village Board unanimously approved the contract for the DeForest-Windsor Housing Supply and Demand Analysis. It will cost each village $7,200 in a 50-50 split of the $14,400 price tag.

A housing study has been in the works for months for the Village of DeForest, which had received a request from Windsor to partner up on it. DeForest staff has worked with Windsor and Roffers on expanding the original scope of the project to include Windsor.

It was determined that adding Windsor to the study did not need formal approval of the DeForest Village Board.

The study comes at a time when DeForest is in the process of updating its comprehensive plan. Next year, Windsor plans to follow suit.

Windsor Village President Bob Wipperfurth asked if the study would give the village a path to discovering what kinds of housing is needed in the community.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding agreed to by the two communities, MDRoffers is charged with completing an analysis and preparing a report on the supply and demand for workforce, senior housing and market-rate multiple-family rental housing in the DeForest-Windsor area, as well as housing that is “defined as affordable for low and moderate income households as defined by county, state and federal guidelines and data,” according to the scope of services provided by MDRoffers.

Furthermore, that document states, “The purpose of the analysis is to identify whether and to what extent the current and future local demand for housing options exceeds the current supply. This includes demand from employees, current seniors and aging Baby Boomers, and residents of different incomes in DeForest and Windsor.”

Windsor Deputy Administrator and Director of Economic Development Jamie Rybarczyk said the study will provide direction for the village board on housing policies for what’s needed in the community right now and what it will need going forward.

Trustee Don Madelung asked if the scope of the project will take into account land use and how far the borders can go to accommodate housing needs.

Roffers said the only geographic aspect of the study will be identifying locations that meet the needs of different groups. For example, he cited the need for senior housing near shopping areas or workforce housing near jobs.

Roffers said projections of the study should look 10-15 years out.

Trustee Monica Smith wondered about the accuracy of such a study given the impact of COVID-19, especially with the cost of building supplies going up, the job loss that’s taken place and the potential impact of the upcoming Presidential election.

Roffers said that despite the pandemic, the housing market in Dane County remains strong. He said the City of Sun Prairie has had more single-family building permits this year than last.

However, Roffers also noted that area school districts, including DeForest, are reporting enrollment declines this year. He said it was unclear how the housing market will be affected by all this and whether there will be significant long-term effects.

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