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Residents voice concerns over Southridge housing development

Residents of Kester Cross Country Estates urged the Marshalltown City Council to reject an updated plat for the Southridge Estates Subdivision and revert to the previously proposed plat during Monday’s regular meeting.

The city purchased land on Southridge Road near Governor Road to develop the Southridge Estates Subdivision after the property was on the market. The current plat is for 15 lots, a majority of which would be 67-feet wide and about 119 feet deep from the street.

The target value of the new properties is about $250,000 or more. About 60 residents of the neighborhood signed a letter asking the council to reconsider its plans for development, citing the new plat does not match the quality present in the area.

“I just hope you consider all these different things and not just look at its development for Marshalltown,” said Larry Kester, developer of Kester Cross Country Estates. “Marshalltown is a big city there’s plenty of room for development.”

Councilman Bill Martin read the letter signed by the Cross Country Estates residents which specified the lot lines would not allow a home larger than 47-feet wide.

“That does not leave an abundance of room for driveways or parking,” Martin said. “Further I would say I would really appreciate the lot lines being commensurate with the existing lots to the south. I have some reservations and my neighbors do as well.”

Mike Hayworth, president of Rosemont Companies which is contracted for the development project, said the average home will be 1,600 square feet or more. The larger homes in the development have the potential for three-car garages while the others will have two-car garages and full driveways.

“From what I’ve heard, I don’t think we’re putting up shabby houses,” said Sue Cahill, councilwoman.

Michelle Spohnheimer, director of housing and community development, said if the city were to revert to the previous plans it would need to renegotiate with Rosemont Companies as the return on investment for the company would lessen.

Councilman Gary Thompson noted increasing the size of the lots, thus reducing the total number of lots, would lose the city property tax returns even if the value of the larger homes was greater.

“When this land sold for $135,000, if the intent of the people living at cross country estates was to protect the feeling of their neighborhood — rather than do the letter they all could have put in $2,000 a piece and bought the land,” Thompson said. “Or the developer himself could have bought the land and developed it similar to those in cross country estates.”

The council unanimously approved a bid for Thorpe Excavating of Clive for chipping and hauling of vegetative debris. The bid for $1.8 million was the second lowest offered to the city, but the low bidder, Cornerstone Demo and Clearing, withdrew its bid of about $1.1 million earlier in the day.

The council discussed options for liquor licensing and offerings in the Coliseum. The options include:

• Option 1 — The City would hold the liquor license for the Coliseum and renters could only have alcohol when approved by the Park & Rec Director and would have to be purchased from the City. The City would hire additional staff for those events who

are trained and supervised to sell alcohol.

• Option 2 — The City would request proposals for and outside vendor to provide alcohol for events approved by the Park & Rec Director using a liquor license the vendor obtained for consumption within the Coliseum premises.

• Option 3 — Allow renters to bring in their own alcohol for events when approved by the Park & Rec Director.

• Option 4 — Do not allow alcohol to be consumed within the Coliseum. It has not been determined whether the license would include all spirits in addition to beer and wine.

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