Deals with developers approved

FD council gives go-ahead to Theiss farm housing

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
Construction workers build one of a series of duplexes near the intersection of Williams Drive and 20th Avenue North on part of the former Theiss farm property. There will be five duplexes with 1,600 square feet of living space and a two car garage.

Deals that lay the groundwork for hundreds of new homes in the form of houses, duplexes and apartments on the former Theiss farm property were approved by the Fort Dodge City Council Monday.

Some of the elected officials defended the inclusion of multifamily housing, which has attracted the most criticism, in the plans.

Councilman Terry Moehnke said that already one out of four houses in the city is a rental property.

And Councilman Kim Alstott said the proposed rental units would be “high-end apartments” with rents in the $1,000 to $1,200 a month range.

“I don’t understand why people are getting worked up,” he said.

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
A stretch of dirt and mud that will eventually be a new section of 24th Avenue North between North 15th Street and Williams Drive was framed between two excavators Monday afternoon. The road is being built to open the former Theiss farm property to housing development. Rasch Construction Inc., of Fort Dodge, has a $1,134,407 contract for the road job.

Councilman Jeff Halter tried to postpone action on the agreements until after public hearings on needed zoning changes have been held.

“I feel it’s better for the community to have these public hearings first,” he said.

When he was unable to postpone action on both agreements, he cast the sole votes against them.

The zoning hearings Halter referred to were held at the Sept. 18 council meeting, but because proper legal notice wasn’t given in advance of the hearings they didn’t count. The council on Monday set the new hearings for Oct. 9.

The former Theiss farm, located along Williams Drive between 20th and 25th avenues north, was purchased by the city government and the Fort Dodge Betterment Foundation last year for the purpose of creating housing.

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
One of a series of new duplexes is beginning to take shape near the intersection of Williams Drive and 20th Avenue North on part of the former Theiss farm property. Three duplexes wil face Williams Drive and two will face 20th Avenue North. Mike McCarville is the developer of the project.

Northwest Iowa Building Co. LLC, of Ankeny, proposes to build homes on the old farm property on both sides of Williams Drive. It was a party to both agreements approved by the council Monday.

“The developer wants both agreements approved on the same night so that he is sure he’s getting both sides of Williams Drive,” Vickie Reeck, the city’s community and economic development director, told the council Monday.

The first agreement to come before the council Monday covered the land on the west side of Williams Drive.

Under the terms of that deal, the company will buy 39 acres west of Williams Drive at a cost of $13,500 per acre.

On that property, the company will build 74 single-family homes, 20 duplexes and 60 rowhomes in 10 buildings of six units each.

Halter moved to table the agreement, which would postpone action on it. That effort failed when councilmen Neven Conrad, Andy Fritz, Alstott and Moehnke voted against it. Councilman Dean Hill and Halter voted to table the agreement. Councilman Dave Flattery was absent.

But when the measure before the council was amended to make the agreement contingent on the future approval of the needed zoning changes. Hill said he would support it.

The council then voted 5-1 to approve the agreement. Alstott, Conrad, Fritz, Hill and Moehnke voted yes. Halter voted no. Flattery was absent.

The second agreement before the council was with Northwest Iowa Building Co. LLC and Windstone Circle LLC, of Fort Dodge.

Under the terms of that deal, Northwest Iowa Building Co. LLC will buy 37 lots along a new section of 24th Avenue North now being built between Williams Drive and North 15th Street. The company will pay $185,000 for those lots. Single-family homes will be built there.

The company will purchase an additional 8.7 acres for $13,500 per acre. On those acres, nine single-family homes will be built facing Williams Drive and two homes will be built facing 21st Avenue North.

The company will also build a 55-unit apartment complex and 20 duplexes.

Windstone Circle LLC will buy 3.75 acres on the east side of Williams Drive for $15,000 per acre. The company will build a private road and construct 22 duplexes, with the work to be done by the end of next year.

That agreement was approved by a 5-1 vote, with Alstott, Conrad, Fritz, Hill and Moehnke in favor. Halter voted no and Flattery was absent.

No one from the public addressed the council about either agreement.

Moehnke said the proposals for the Theiss farm do not violate the city’s comprehensive plan because, he said, it calls for the creation of neighborhoods with a variety of housing types.

Alstott said the Wraywood Manor apartment building at 902 Wraywood Drive is surrounded by what he called “nice homes” and there are no complaints or problems.

Conrad said that under the agreements approved Monday, none of the existing single-family homes will have a duplex or apartment building next to it.


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