City council reviews North Ridge plans

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At a special meeting on Sept. 1, Kalona City Council members were presented with the developer’s agreement for the North Ridge subdivision in the Southtown development.

City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh walked the council through the synopsis, noting that the complicated nature of the agreement posed a challenge to all involved, albeit a welcome one.

“This has the potential to be something unique and special,” Schlabaugh said. “We can do some wonderful things.”

There were no written or oral comments from citizens provided to the city staff or council members regarding the rezoning guidelines for the land. Currently under preliminary plat review by the Planning and Zoning Commission are 56.12 acres to be rezoned to include 53 lots of R-1, single-family residential homes; nine lots of R-2, two-family residential homes (comprising of 18 possible units); and three lots of R-3, multi-family residences.

Schlabaugh walked the council through a synopsis of the developer’s agreement. The plan, presented by project manager Adam Kos from Moyna Holdings, includes 103.48 acres to be dedicated to the City of Kalona, including 96.62 acres specifically intended for recreation. (The other 6.86 acres, within 133rd and Nutmeg, will be used for public infrastructure.)

The council acknowledged that there was been much public interest and desire for a dog park. The plan includes room for a 2-3-acre dog park, which will be more a natural dog park. C.J. Moyna & Sons will complete rough grading for the area and Washington County Conservation will provide seed work and landscaping.

The plans for recreational amenities also include a nine-hole frisbee golf course, a fishing pond, a nature scape park that will use recycled materials found during demolition such as boulders and concrete pipes to create play structures, and walking trails, including a parking lot and trail head.

The subdivision will be built on the site of the old Shiloh church. Kos and his team will be responsible for removal and replacement of some of the old Shiloh infrastructure, including three existing buildings, sewer and water systems, and parts of a cemetery that will be updated to allow for easier maintenance by the city.

“This is not a maintainable cemetery in any form, shape, or fashion for us,” Schlabaugh said.

By removing the current cemetery walls and restrooms, and performing some rough grading, the developers will morph the unusable land into a more traditional cemetery that can be maintained by weeding and mowing. $100,000 from the Shiloh cemetery savings fund will be used for this work.

Fifty acres of land will be dedicated to the City of Kalona on or before Jan. 1. 2021 and 45 additional acres will be reserved for a private option for five years. It is likely that this land will also become city property, but the option will be there for private developers to utilize it, pending city council approval, for potential projects such as a baseball or soccer complex.

Schlabaugh said keeping the land in Moyna Holdings’ possession for five years will allow more opportunity to explore private use down the line.

“Once [the land] gets into the city’s hands, it’s much harder to get it out again,” he said.

While the Sept. 1 meeting regarding the developer’s agreement was non-actionable, the city council members each expressed approval for the subdivision and the work Kos and C.J. Moyna & Sons have already put in.

“I think this is a great project,” said Kalona Mayor Mark Robe. “We’re going to see things in our town that we’ve never seen before. I think it’ll attract a lot of people to our town.”

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