Council hears concerns, support for Kwik Star request

First reading to rezone Fair Meadow property passes despite objections

Nearly 30 Webster City residents attended the City Council meeting Monday evening to voice their opinions and concerns about a proposed petition from Kwik Star to rezone land located on Fair Meadow Drive from residential to commercial property use.

The City received a number of written and oral objections to the proposed rezoning. City Clerk Karyl Bonjour read aloud five written complaints the city received before the public hearing Monday evening.

On Dec. 11, there was a petition filed with approximately 99 signatures of individuals against the proposed rezoning.

The city received three letters on Monday afternoon concerning the proposed rezoning. One letter, signed by resident Jan Cook, stated: “City Council: I’m not opposed to Kwik Star trying to make a go of it in a town this size, but the proposed location isn’t accommodating for such a business as is one, congesting an already busy intersection; two, rezoning needed; three: air, noise, light and ground pollution/litter; four: slowing the traffic flow for folks entering and exiting this town. Thank you for your consideration.”

Resident Marilyn Doocy stated that she is opposed to the proposed rezoning because of concerns with an increase in traffic volume on Fair Meadow Drive, loss of greenspace and existing infrastructure being able to handle water runoff, and the possibility that Kwik Star would change their proposed plans once the rezoning proposal passed.

Doocy stated in a letter to the city: “Dear City Council members, I would like to voice my objection to the proposed rezoning of Lot 1, Fair Meadow Heights Addition…Think about the tax paying residents and how this will affect them. I have not talked to anyone who has property nearby that wants this changed. Maybe the bank, who is selling the land, is the exception. I do not object to Kwik Star bringing its business to Webster City, but do not think this is the proper location for it. Thank you for your service and attention to this matter.”

Roger and LuAnn Garvey, in favor of the proposed rezoning, also submitted a letter to the council. Their letter stated: “We feel if Kwik Star is going to landscape and put up a fence between our property and their store, we would be in favor of their proposal. This is also contingent with their promise to not ever put in truck stalls or a truck scale – making the property into a truck stop. We understand the business could be good for our town, but we want them to be good neighbors to us also. Thank you.”

The city received a letter at 5:20 p.m. from Lynn Collins Seaba of Malloy Law Firm. According to the letter, Seaba represents Leo and Sherry Lambi and Jeff and Jarita Nelson.

The letter stated: “My clients presently own and reside on residential property which is immediately adjacent to the property subject to the petition for rezoning and both would be adversely impacted by the proposed zoning change. These property owners protest the change in the current zoning where a portion of the property would go from R-1 to C-3…Please consider this protest in accordance with Iowa Code Section 414.5.”

Bonjour also reminded the council that there was a petition submitted previously on Oct. 2 which signees were in favor of the proposed rezoning and for Kwik Star to be located on Fair Meadow Drive. This petition had 91 signatures from Webster City residents.

Once each written objection was mentioned, the council opened up the platform to hear any objections from individuals present Monday night during the public hearing.

Lynn Collins Seaba, of Malloy Law Firm, was the first one to speak at the podium. Seaba stated that Kwik Star did not need the full lot and land area proposed and could “confine” their proposed property to the already existing C-3 property on Fair Meadow Drive.

“The biggest problem is if you as a council take that and you rezone that and make that C-3, there’s nothing to prevent Kwik Star, or another subsequent owner, from then developing that into commercial and it’s starts to encroach upon those residential properties,” Seaba said. “This does create a problem for those owners that have put significant investments in their homes in that area.”

Greg Maharry, owner of Maharry Family Dentistry, which is located on Fair Meadow Drive next to the proposed lot where property would be rezoned from residential to commercial, also spoke. Maharry had concerns about the effect that Kwik Star would have on Fair Meadow Drive.

“I’ve invested a considerable amount in my business. I feel like we’ve done a good job improving that property and the aesthetics there,” said Maharry. “I don’t feel like a high-traffic convenience store with more that likely bright, commercial lighting, and 24-hour business next door will do anything to benefit my business or property value.”

Maharry also questioned the council on what, if any, lighting restrictions would be imposed on Kwik Star.

“Certainly working with Kwik Star we’re going to try address any issues and concerns, lighting being one of them,” said City Manager Daniel Ortiz-Hernandez.

“I’ve had several people talk to me and some are in favor and some are not in favor, but one issue that was brought up was the bait-and-switch,” said Councilman Jim Talbot. “They don’t have the scale and overnight parking for rigs. Six months down the road who’s to say they can’t do that to make that type of situation?”

“My personal opinion is I think we should look at places where they could go as opposed to this particular location,” said Talbot. “I have no problem with Kwik Star coming into town, but I do have a real strong problem about who they want to help, just because they are encroaching on residential property.”

Ryan Rippentrop was in favor of the proposed rezoning and Kwik Star coming to Webster City.

“I’ve lived in Webster City for a year and the prior 13 years I lived in communities with Kwik Stars or Kwik Trips,” Rippentrop said. “I just want to say, in their defense, that they are excellent facilities.”

He went on to note the positive development that would come to Webster City with Kwik Star and to the south side of town.

“Having a company like Kwik Star come in and offer to develop property and provide needed services on the south side of town, I think, is an excellent opportunity for our city,” said Rippentrop.

Richard Carlson, Ron Birkestrand, John Hemmingway, Leo Lambi, and LuAnn Tanner also spoke at the podium.

“The people that I’ve talked to have overwhelmingly been in favor — I’ve actually had no one that I’ve spoken with or anyone approach me, that they weren’t in favor of moving forward with a project like this,” said Councilman Matt McKinney. “I look at it as progress.”

“I, unfortunately, have been approached by some people against it, which makes my decision very tough,” said Councilman Logan Welch. “I do think it is a progressive step for our community. I think Kwik Star is a reputable business…”.

After considering the written and oral objections presented during the public hearing, the first reading of a proposed ordinance amending the Official Zoning Map of the City of Webster City, rezoning property from R-1 (single-family dwelling) district and R-2 (multiple-family dwelling) district to C-3 (Highway commercial) district, with said property being located on Fair Meadow Drive, was approved by the council.

The measure was approved in a 4:1 roll call vote with Talbot voting no, saying: “As it stands now I’m not in favor. There are too many questions and too many concerned citizens.”

According to City Attorney Zach Chizek, because of the official statement from Malloy Law Firm, a four-fifths vote was needed to approve and pass the proposed rezoning agenda item.

“I just want to make a point of note – because we received a protest under 414.5, it’s state code and our city ordinance requires it be a three-fourths vote to pass and because there are five of you, obviously it has to be four-fifths,” said Chizek.

The council observed a report by Shirley Helgevold, MIDAS Council of Governments, on the status of the Community Development Grant Block (CDGB) monies for the Housing Rehab Program. The program is still in need of two more applicants for housing improvements. Improvements can include roofs, windows, doors, furnace replacement, stair repair, electrical work and more. For more information about the program, contact Helgevold at (515) 576-7183 ext. 212.

The recommendation of the contract for the Beach Street Resurfacing Project to low bidder, Mathy Construction Company, of Onalaska, WI, to the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors; which is in accordance with the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program agreement, DOT funding agreement and 28E City-County agreement, was approved.

The city received a letter of intent from a developer interested in purchasing the City-owned lot on Prospect Street. Part of the developer’s plan is to have access off of the Third Street right-of-way east of HyVee and abutting Prospect Street.

The council approved to refer this request to the P&Z for consideration at their next meeting.

The council approved a resolution amending the 2013 Comprehensive Plan for the City of Webster City, to reflect a change regard future land use.

A town hall meeting will be held on Monday, Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. at the Webster City Middle School.

A community betterment meeting is scheduled for Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the Fuller Hall Sampson Room.