The city of Kalona is moving forward with the voluntary annexation of approximately 600 acres of property south of the city limits.
At Monday’s meeting, the council agreed to take the next step of notifying Washington County of the city’s interest in the formal voluntary annexation requests.
“There are a lot of dominos; this starts the first domino,” City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh said. “Tonight starts the notification process with the county.
“Annexation does not mean ownership. It means it would be in our corporate limits. ”
He explained what the notification entails.
“We will notify the county, then the county starts their 30-day clock upon receiving the certified mail,” Schlabaugh said. “This doesn’t mean we have to do anything. It just notifies (the county) that we have an interest in having this voluntarily brought into our city limits. It doesn’t commit anybody to anything; it just starts the clock.”
The annexation requests include about 200 acres of property owned by Shiloh church, roughly 465 acres owned by Marilyn Farms and 35 acres owned by Larry and Evelyn Hershberger.
The Shiloh property is bordered to the north by 133rd Street and to the east by Nutmeg Avenue.
Schlabaugh clarified Tuesday morning that not all property owned by Marilyn Farms is part of the voluntary annexation.
He explained that the Marilyn Farms property and the Hershberger parcel create a “contiguous connection” to the current city corporate limits.
The expectation is that the primary Shiloh property will be sold to a developer.
“We’ll have more in depth discussion at the next meeting (Jan. 20) with the vision and how that will carry out at that time,” Schlabaugh said. “At the point, the developer will be public, and they’ll share their vision.”
He added that the buildings on the Shiloh property will soon be coming down to make way for development.
“The buildings are scheduled to go; I’m not going to sugar coat that,” he said. “A lot of that stuff is going to go.”
Schlabaugh said that the city will work with the developer to establish recreational opportunities on the Shiloh property.
“The discussions have been to have recreation and other things on that primary property between 133rd Street and Nutmeg Avenue,” he said. “That’s going to be done through the developer agreement. As they do a preliminary plat, they will put in the parks and recreation areas that will come to council and (planning and zoning) at that time.”
The Shiloh property is currently zoned Commercial Exempt. The exemption will change once the property is sold.
The Marilyn Farms and Hershberger land is zoned A-1 Agricultural, and would not change with annexation, according to Schlabaugh.
Some parcels may be eventually deeded to the city, including the cemetery on the east side of Nutmeg Avenue, the water plant and utility building and some wetland property on the north side of the English River.
“We’ve explored the possibility of (the wetland parcels) being deeded to the city and managed by County Conservation,” Schlabaugh said. “They are certified wetlands that are non-farmable and non-developable that we could run trails through and do some recreational opportunities as funding and time permit.”
He added that the city will also have easements and right of way through the properties.
“If we ever do have to have a connection for water, and obviously trails are a focal point, those will be crafted as we get into discussions with the developer,” he said. “The developer is going to create that vision off of the committee, RDG, planning and zoning. They’re taking all that and putting that into a real world practice.”