116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Linn County is another step closer to establishing an agri-community along Mount Vernon Road.
On Wednesday, Linn County supervisors approved the preliminary plat for the Dows Farm project on a 2-1 vote. Supervisors Ben Rogers and Stacey Walker, both Democrats, voted in favor and Supervisor Louie Zumbach, a Republican, was opposed.
The plat creates the layout for 247 lots on 181 acres of land along the 6900 block of Mount Vernon Road, county Planning and Development Director Charlie Nichols said.
The plan, Nichols said, had no surprises.
“There is nothing different than what was discussed through many months of public meetings and forums,” Nichols said.
The county bought the 485-acre site, west of Highway 13, in 2016 for $7.2 million. Some 300-plus acres of the purchase were added to Wanatee Park.
The remainder will go to the Dows Farm project, with half of that being managed by Linn County Conservation to protect the land along Wanatee Creek and the other half going to the housing units. Only 25 percent of the land bought in 2016 will be developed, county officials have said.
In October, supervisors selected Hiawatha-based Ahmann Companies as the Dow Farms’ master developer.
During a supervisor work session Monday, Ahmann Vice President Chad Pelley said the project will take five to 10 years to complete, with construction beginning late summer or next spring.
“This is a unique project,” Pelley told the supervisors. “We would like to get going this year if everything works out.”
Also in October, the supervisors extended a farm management agreement between the county and the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust to manage the working farm through 2023.
SILT, launched in 2015, aims to permanently protect Iowa land for the growing of nature-friendly table food. The organization will hire farmers to work the land as “independent entrepreneurs,” and aims to have some farming activity start this year.
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