Letter to the Editor

Say something

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

When you see something say something, Do everything you can to right a wrong.
We are here today to do just that … The lyrics from a well known musical play over and over in our heads: “Folks we got trouble, we got trouble right here in Dickinson County.”

As a homeowners in the Chalstrom Beach area since 1995, we have had a cornfield/bean field as a good neighbor to our north, giving us the peace, tranquility and rural quality that is the cornerstone of our small, urban communities and the draw for our local tourism trade. Most folks who come to vacation in the Iowa Great Lakes or buy homes in the area for vacation retreat do so for that very reason. We advertise our rural qualities.

Unfortunately, that very precious commodity is fast disappearing into the hands of developers (or in this case a local builder and a fast food owner). The development proposed on the agricultural land (bordered by Stake Out Road to the west, 175th Street to the north, 240th Avenue to the east and homeowners on 178th Street to the south) is an approximate 520-unit development consisting of patio homes and possibly two condominiums, containing three floors and possibly a restaurant — does not meet with the Dickinson County Comprehensive Use Plan. The requested rezoning to R3 Residential is not consistent with the surrounding properties zoned as R1 Residential and R4 residential as defined in Ordinance 102, which defines the parameters required for zoning.

The plan, as presented for rezoning, did not provide a plan for the entire 65 acres. It only set forth a plan for 10 acres and 62 homes — Phase 1. Daily rental was requested. The Board of Supervisors agreed to a seven-day or more rental. Both of these are not allowed on R3 zoned property. Rental would then make it a commercial property. Therefore the rezoning, which is pending approval contingent on the approval of the proposed PUD by the Board of Adjustment, is improper.

The PUD is in direct conflict with the County Ordinance 102 and the Comprehensive Plan. A petition, with more than 200 signatures was filed by surrounding homeowners which clearly identified the reasons this rezoning and development should not be allowed to go forward. A detailed analysis was also provided to support our claims of noncompliance of the PUD requested. A subsequent letter has been filed to our local supervisor identifying several errors in the actions taken in this matter by the Zoning and the Board of Supervisors which could result in legal challenge and which should negate this whole process.

Clearly this is a very detailed and complex process which has never been handled by our county before. The request requires due diligence and detailed analysis by our Zoning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. That was not done because the boards passed these requests at the same meetings as they were presented. What is the big rush? Well, our group, lead by individuals with 45 years of planning and development, have done this for them. The information has been provided to the Board of Adjustment and is available for public review through the zoning office.

We must be a county who supports responsible development with the entire community — current and future — in mind. Decisions for rezoning and conditional use cannot be made based on exceptions and misinterpretations of established Ordinance 102.

We must learn that it really is OK to just say no!

We encourage all homeowners who are concerned about the urban sprawl, which is rapidly depleting our county’s lands, stand up and voice your opinion and concerns 7 p.m. Sept. 25 in the Community Room at the courthouse.

Larry and Bertie Bergeson