Knollcrest residents unhappy with recent zoning decision

To the editor:

We got a letter dated 11/26/18 from the associate planner with the city informing us of a meeting with the Plan and Zoning Commission. We received the letter because our property in Knollcrest “is within 200 feet of the subject land” for rezoning. Our next door neighbors, as well as the vast majority of over 200 single family property owners in Knollcrest, were not notified. The letter stated “the developer (from Missouri) had submitted a land use change and rezoning request to allow for construction of an apartment complex development situated on approximately 18.4 acres of land. The developer’s first phase of development will consist of three separate apartment buildings consisting of 36 units each.” Other phases of development include up to six more 36-unit apartment buildings. The proposed land is north of the aquatic center between 14th and 18th avenues north.

We attended the meeting on Dec. 11 at 4:00 along with a few others from Knollcrest. We were able to voice our concerns and ask questions. One concern was what the apartment complex would do to property value. One commissioner acknowledged that it would hurt. Another concern was the increased traffic. We were told a study would be done by the city engineer. Safety and water issues were other concerns. We asked who the apartments are being developed for and were told people with higher incomes because rent would be $1,000 to $1,500 a month. In talking with rental property owners, that is not realistic in Fort Dodge. We asked for any data to show the “need” for that many apartments, but got none. With apartments planned for Phillips, Fair Oaks, the Warden, and the townhouses to be built east of the middle school, is there really a “need” for more apartments?

The commission voted to table the request to rezone pending additional information. The local lawyer representing the developer told us he would e-mail us the developer’s plans. That did not happen. On Dec. 18, the commission met behind closed doors and approved the rezoning. Now the commission’s recommendation to rezone the land from agricultural to multi-family residential (instead of single family as in the city’s future land use plan) will go to the city council.

Our purpose in writing this letter is to inform the property owners in Knollcrest, as well as the public, what is being proposed. We do not know what the real agenda is here, or why the secrecy and urgency, but feel the commission and city planners disregarded our concerns and questions to push forward their agenda.

Jody and Bernie Halverson

Fort Dodge