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The Waverly City Council approved, on July 1, the first reading of a rezoning request to change the zoning of 34.62 acres near the intersection of East Bremer Avenue and 39th Street Northeast to allow for an implement dealership to locate there.

Hanawalt Farms LLC, the owner of the land, plans to sell between 5 and 6 acres to the dealership, but according to a memo, city staff had recommended the entire quarter-section to be rezoned. It will be changed from agricultural to light industrial, with a public hearing set for Monday, July 15, prior to the second reading.

Earlier in the evening, the council approved a professional services agreement with WHKS & Co. to oversee a project to extend the city’s sanitary sewer mains toward that property. City Attorney Bill Werger said the development along the southeast corner of the quarter-section is the reason for the work.

During a Planning and Zoning meeting held on June 20, neighbors to the north of the property were concerned about access, according to At-Large Councilwoman Ann Rathe. However, Werger said it was line of sight.

“Their concerns clearly were they like the view that they have now,” Werger said. “So, they’re worried about what the view could be in the future, but they were also very understanding about the idea it is … in the future land use plan as commercial/industrial.

“We told them that the development that is occurring now will have a driveway in the bottom end, because they’re going to stay where the concrete road is, and then it becomes seal-coated after that. Their driveway will probably be closer to where those right of ways are jutted out on each side.”

Guest council person Kim Dix inquired about the houses north of the property, if they’re on septic tanks now and could connect to the new sewer in the future. Werger said those residences would only have the opportunity if the lines were extended further north.

The ordinance was approved unanimously with Ward 2 Councilman Dan McKenzie absent.

Also, the council approved the first reading of a rezoning of 1316 Fourth St. SW, which is currently owned by Wavtown Properties LLC, from single-family residential to commercial and redeveloped with an adjacent commercial property.

The property was owned previously by the late Duane Liddle, a former City Council member and mayoral candidate who died of cancer on March 23, 2016. According to a council memo, Wavtown plans to demolish Liddle’s old house and garage and redevelop the property with the currently empty lot that once had a truck topper business.

At one point, Kwik Trip Inc. had considered building their third location of Kwik Star on that property. It wound up at 2501 Fourth St. SW.

When asked what Wavtown’s plans were for the site, Werger said the company just wanted to develop it to draw potential lessees.

“It could be a drive-in and have things that aren’t just fronting Fourth Street,” he said. “(Wavtown) needed to know what they can do and how far to go to the edge, so they can have that property buffer for the next property, and then prepare their site so they can get some good retail businesses in that particular development.”

One concern brought up by council members was the fact that there are more residences to the north of the proposed development.

“This house used to be the last residential next to the (commercial zone), and we’re going to convert this to (commercial), so the next house up gets to be the last house,” Ward 1 Councilman Brian Birgen said.

Werger said once Liddle’s house, which is currently in disrepair, is cleared, Wavtown could use the lot to be the buffer between the commercial development and the next house.

Ward 3 Councilman Rod Drenkow asked if the rezoning is necessary for removing the house. Werger said that wasn’t the case.

“If they use it for drainage or any use pertinent to the use that they’re using for their (commercial) property, it would need to be zoned for that purpose,” Werger said.

Ward 5 Councilman Tim Kangas inquired whether the lot would be used to gain access to the residences to the north. Currently, an access road that parallels Fourth Street that starts at 10th Avenue Southwest near Grace Baptist Church ends in front of that property.

Werger said the only way access would be gained to that road is if the city agrees to do that. The city would have to do so in a “controlled manner” so that the access road could extend all the way to the 13th Avenue intersection.

Dix, the guest council member, wanted to see a provision that Liddle’s former driveway is not used to gain additional access via the residential road. Werger said the driveway would also be removed.

The buffer is required between residential and commercial properties, which can include either fencing, vegetation or other methods. Birgen gave the example of what Casey’s General Store’s new location used nearby.

Drenkow wanted to get the ordinance passed to get to the public hearing prior to the second reading due to some qualms he had personally.

“I’m always concerned when you’re zoning residential property into (commercial) property, what happens to the next property down the line, even though apparently, they haven’t objected to this,” Drenkow said. “The buffering that’s required under the zoning ordinances is pretty minimal. I just wanted to make sure that the property rights of the remaining residential property holders are respected and preserved.”