Cedar Rapids to grow geographically with two annexations

Both annexations have full support of property owners, city development planner said

Rick Smith
Published: January 6 2014 | 5:00 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 1:43 am in

Cedar Rapids is growing geographically.

Two annexations — both on the west side of northeast Cedar Rapids — approved by the City Council in December are on Wednesday’s agenda at the state City Development Board.

Since 1993, the state board has been required to approve local annexations.

Vern Zakostelecky, a planner with the city’s Development Services Department, said on Monday that both annexations involve property in which 100 percent of the owners have agreed to come into the city.

One annexation is being sought by a small group of property owners to enable developers Jon Dusek, president and CEO of Armstrong Development Co., and Dustin Kern, manager of DK Land Services LLC, to build about 90 homes on 45 acres north of Blairs Ferry Road NE and west of Milburn Road NE, Dusek said on Monday.

Dusek expected construction to start this spring on the new, unnamed housing development, which he anticipated to be built in three or four phases. The project likely would include some houses on larger lots that sit next to existing larger-lot homes in the county, he said.

The entire annexation consists of 63.61 acres and includes property owned by two churches, according a city report to the City Council.

Dusek called the area one of the city’s "better growth areas," and he said that was so because it was convenient to major employers Transamerica and Rockwell Collins, with good access to Highway 100.

The second annexation into Cedar Rapids is south of 42nd Street NE and west of Edgewood Road NE, and involves a bigger-lot subdivision in which some of the homeowners have asked to be annexed into the city in exchange for having access to city water and sanitary-sewer services.

Attaching to city services will allow them to get off their neighborhood well and their own septic systems, the city’s Zakostelecky said.

He said the city extended city services to the neighborhood in the past year at the request of the neighborhood, and the current annexation involves 14 homes on Willowbrook Drive NE and Georgia Avenue NE.

Others in the same neighborhood will remain in Linn County outside the city of Cedar Rapids, though the proposed annexation creates four small islands of city property surrounded by properties that, for now, will remain in the county surrounded by other city property.

Zakostelecky said the Iowa Legislature created the state City Development Board in 1993 to approve annexations, and the state board early on analyzed cities across Iowa to see where cities had grown out and around islands of property in the county.

The state board identified about 30 such islands in Cedar Rapids, and all but two were forced to come into the city, Zakostelecky said.

One that remained in the county was the Willowbrook area, where some homeowners now are asking to come into the city to benefit from city services.

Zakostelecky estimated that city property taxes for homeowners typically are 30 percent higher in the city than in Linn County.

On Wednesday, too, the state Development Board must approve a tiny annexation for the city of Marion. It involves a half a lot, which is being moved from Cedar Rapids into Marion so one house in a coming subdivision doesn’t sit in both cities, said Kesha Billings, associate planner for the city of Marion.

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