Housing development could be on the rise in Osceola.
During a May 20 Osceola City Council meeting, the council spent a lot of time on the redevelopment efforts on the west side of the city, such as The Meadows, as well as zoning issues in the area.
First, the council approved the first reading of an “R-60” single-family residential district of the Osceola Zoning Ordinance. Single family means only one family can live in the dwelling.
“It only allows single families,” said Dave Leonard, zoning administrator/building inspector, community development. “So, the attempt here for the future use of this, not just for this development, but will be to go into existing areas that are currently all single-family areas that have varying lot sizes … and rezone those areas to protect them from duplexes or three-plexes or quad-plexes in the future. There’s been a lot of conversions all over town, and that’s what we’re going to try and use this R-60 tool to go in and protect some of those areas which are still uniformally single-family.”
Next, the council held a public hearing on an ordinance rezoning The Meadows, Plat 1, to a single-family residential district.
Ty Wheeler, Osceola city administrator/clerk, said plat 1 comprises Truman Road and the north half of Primrose Lane. The council approved the first reading of the ordinance.
The council held another public hearing regarding the ordinance rezoning The Meadows, Plat 2, with “PUD.” PUD stands for planned unit development, and Wheeler said the streets in the area are public roads yet to be named.
This is where some public frustrations were voiced because the council was also looking into having a development agreement with Kading Properties for the area.
The proposed development agreement for the development of The Meadows, Plat 2, called for no fewer than 42 single-family property lots and the construction of no fewer than 22 two-family dwellings, also known as duplexes.
Kading Properties shall be responsible for the design and construction of all infrastructure associated with the project. Kading will sell the lots for the single-family dwellings, but won’t build the homes. However, they will build the duplexes, including the infrastructure and the grading.
Dan Novelli with Kading Properties said there would be sound abatement with a vegetative barrier for the noises from the trains, and it would be maintained by them.
Osceola resident Val Funk expressed concerns with the development with Kading Properties.
“I am not against the development of the property out there, but as a homeowner in that area, the number of duplexes that they are proposing to build out there is going to outnumber the number of single-family dwellings,” Funk said. “And, since they are not planning on actually building the houses for the lots they are making available, we are going to be outnumbered in duplexes to houses, and I believe it’s going to devastate our neighborhood. The house values that we have out there are going to drop into the sewer because people don’t want to live next to that many duplexes.”
There was a general public concern about building duplex dwellings for people with lower income but who also want to live in a larger dwelling.
Citizens attending the meeting had issues with Osceola being close to Des Moines and right off Interstate 35, because over time, the duplexes could potentially attract unfavorable people and the trafficking of drugs.
The council listened to the public’s concerns, but also approved many first readings of the zoning ordinances.
The councilmen reminded the public that ordinances have to have second and third readings before they go into effect, which gives the council more time to look into potential issues.
However, the city council also approved going into a development agreement with Kading Properties.
At the end of the redevelopment discussion, Wheeler said he wanted to clarify the redevelopment project is really a resalvaging project because of a bad development deal in that area with Midwest Homes Incorporated.
Wheeler said city officials were approached by Kading Properties with development proposals to fix the housing problem made many year ago.
“The city, everybody, spent a lot of money 10 years ago and didn’t get anything out of it,” Wheeler said. “This is a salvage, this is a redevelopment project. It’s trying to take, what I think is a bit of an eyesore, and, in terms of larger subdivision-type projects for the city and it’s history, and trying to make the best we can out of it. But, unless we’ve got somebody willing to come to the table and participate, it’s not going to happen. We’re not going to put in sanitary sewer. We’re not going to extend these streets without something coming in from a development standpoint to support it.”