Government

Project could bring 200 houses to Cedar Rapids

Multifamily and commercial also seen for annexed land

Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart talks during a Cedar Rapids City Council meeting in the Council Chambers at City Hall in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart talks during a Cedar Rapids City Council meeting in the Council Chambers at City Hall in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Dozens of new single family homes would replace farm fields as part of a planned city boundary expansion to the south and east.

Deborah A. and David Krivanek, owners of Krivanek Farm, recently gained approval for a 100 percent voluntary annexation of their farm into Cedar Rapids, where it can access city services and become more enticing to redevelop.

The 140 acres south of Wright Brothers Boulevard SW between Earhart Lane SW and Club Road would become the American Prairie Addition with hundreds of homes, duplexes and apartments, as well as a smaller commercial space, envisioned.

“It is nice to see more housing planned inside our city limits,” said City Council member Scott Olson, a commercial broker.

Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart had identified adding single family homes and establishing new neighborhoods — long a niche of less landlocked surrounding communities — as a priority for Cedar Rapids.

“We need to develop some neighborhoods for that younger couple who’s going to build and wants to have their first house as a place they can go,” Hart said. “And, we need to create some amenities around it, so it’s not so far out if they need, you know, a loaf of bread, they have to get in the car and drive a long ways to get it. We need to make it work so that they can walk and feel like feel like they’re in a neighborhood.”

This area along Wright Brothers has seen a few recent commercial developments and utilities already serve the area.

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Olson said people can expect more neighborhoods to emerge along the Highway 100 extension and Highway 30.

He noted the American Prairie project could take five to 10 years to fill in. The site would include approximately 71.5 acres with about 200 single family homes; 32.5 acres of duplexes; 4.1 acres of fourplexes; 11.4 acres of multifamily structures; and 4.8 acres of commercial space. Much of the rest of the land would be for stormwater management.

Jason Harder, of Built to Suit Inc. in Coralville, is identified as the applicant for the project. He was not immediately available for comment.

Loren Hoffman, of Hall and Hall Engineers, pointed out that the higher density properties would be in the middle of the development, while lower density properties would be on the outside to provide a buffer to surrounding property.

The density would be 4.22 units per acre.

“It is considered fairly low density when you throw in the multifamily,” said Vern Zakostelecky, city zoning administrator.

Council members supported the annexation on Jan. 22, but some members identified concerns.

Council member Ashley Vanorny expressed a need for better communication with surrounding neighbors and concern the development is too dense and would create stormwater problems.

“As we look to develop this, I don’t have a problem with the annexation, what I do have a problem with is the lack of management of the drainage right now,” she said. “It is going to add a lot of pressure I am concerned will be managed properly in the future.”

Council member Dale Todd called it a pretty dense development and questioned the lack of recreation space. Eventual residents may come to the city seeking parks or playgrounds, he said.

“Is there any way to get ahead of that?” he asked.

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The City Planning Commission recommended approval of rezoning the agricultural land to a Suburban Residential Low Flex District (135.2 acres) and Suburban Mixed Use Community Commercial District (4.8 acres) on Jan. 31. Rezoning will need further approval from City Council but a date has not been set for a vote.

• Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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