Hattiesburg, MS (December 1, 2009)- Herbie Clearman grew up in Lamar County, and recalls hunting just west of Hattiesburg. Nowadays, he still regularly sees deer throughout the area, although he wouldn’t dream of hunting there. That’s because he has developed Sandstone, the Livable Forest in that same spot he remembers hunting in- Hattiesburg’s newest off the-beaten-track subdivision. Clearman said he wanted to develop Sandstone, a 190-acre development with a 70-acre conservation easement, to offer families the opportunity to interact with nature while still enjoying a clubhouse, swimming pool and other amenities common in well-planned residential communities.
“We didn’t change the nature of the terrain at all,” Clearman said. “And with the walking trails it feels like you’re just living in a forest, versus a typical subdivision.” Clearman has since seen the subdivision accomplish a number of firsts, including winning the Mississippi Wildlife Federation Award, obtaining approval from Lamar County to have narrow street right-of-ways to preserve existing trees, and hosting the Forrest-Lamar Forestry Association Field Day, to name a few.
When starting on the development, Clearman said the Lamar County Planning Commission was somewhat concerned they wouldn’t be able to get all the utilities in with only 40 feet of right-of-way, instead of the normally required 60. But where there’s a will there’s a way, and there is now 40 feet of right-of-way surrounding the 20 feet of blacktop asphalt the planning commission had asked for.
“I guess I’ve got a soft spot for trees,” Clearman said. Indeed- Clearman’s family is in the timber business in addition to being developers. He said his background in tree farming weighed into his decision to incorporate a conservation easement into Sandstone.
Since the development of Sandstone in 1997, Clearman has found he isn’t the only one who enjoyed the outdoors. Since then about 60% of the subdivision’s 117 lots have been sold, and on them have been built garden homes of 2,200 to 2,400 square feet, as well as traditional homes of up to 4,000 square feet. “We have retired people, young families and young professionals who have made their homes in Sandstone,” said Jenny C. King, CRS, GRI, ABR, an agent with the Hattiesburg-based Realty Executives, The Executive Team. “In my opinion, so many people are getting back to nature. For awhile, people wanted a clinical setting, but now they want to be more environmentally friendly.”
King said peoples’ reaction to Sandstone has been one of delight. “They just love the peace and quiet of it,” she said. The reaction of people to Sandstone has also been one of amazement- the tranquility and abundance of wildlife of the subdivision can be found just 10 minutes from Hattiesburg’s Turtle Creek Mall and Wal-Mart.
Clearman said he enjoys not only the fact that Sandstone was built in a natural setting without disturbing the surrounding wildlife and nature, but also the fact that the entire development hearkens back to Old Hattiesburg. The designs of the garden homes especially, which are called “The Glades,” really sets the subdivision apart from others, Clearman and King said. The garden homes are as individual as the lots themselves, each with their own front porch, giving residents an opportunity to not only move into a new subdivision, but in doing so to also build a sense of community.
“Sandstone is unique to this area in that we went to a lot of trouble to preserve the natural settings – the trees, the underbrush and the soil,” Clearman said. His hope is that others will see the natural beauty of the subdivision, buy a lot and move in.
Mississippi Business Journal- Developer’s ‘soft spot for trees’ leads to opening of Sandstone