Cedar Rapids council rejects appeal of Kestrel Heights plat approval

The Cedar Rapids City Council has rejected an appeal of the City Planning Commission’s approval of a preliminary plat for the Kestrel Heights housing development near the Rompot neighborhood in southeast Cedar Rapids.

The council’s July 26 vote on the appeal was unanimous on a 6-0 vote, with councilmembers Scott Olson, Ann Poe and Scott Overland absent.

A number of neighboring property owners objected to the 65-acre development at 3350 Otis Road SE, asserting the project wasn’t compatible with the area’s largely rural character and failed to comply with the area’s Urban Low Density zoning designation and the city’s comprehensive plan.

Other objections to the project involved a number of issues, including environmental, buffering and traffic concerns, but after hearing from development services manager Ken DeKeyser, the council voted to allow the project to proceed through the approval process, noting that the property has been designated for residential development since the early 1970s.

Kestrel Heights comprises an 89-unit single-family housing development on a currently undeveloped parcel just north of the Prairie Park Fishery.

The project’s applicant, Greyhurst Enterprises, submitted a major preliminary plat for the project, indicating that the overall development will be undertaken in four multi-year phases, comprising 29, 21, 20 and 19 lots respectively. The property is currently zoned Suburban Residential Large Lot District, under which single-family residential development is allowed, so no rezoning would be required for the project.

The development, approved by the CPC in early July, is consistent with the property’s Urban Low Intensity land use typology as indicated on the city’s Future Land Use Map, according to planning documents.

Excluding unusable portions of the property, the project comprises a residential density of approximately 2.5 units per acre.

The development will also provide a pedestrian public access easement to the Irene Dumpke Park just north of the project property. That park is currently inaccessible by street.

The development lies near the Cargill rail yard project, a 12-track facility with capacity of up to 200 rail cars. While work on the new rail yard began in the spring of 2021, it remains the subject of a lawsuit filed by neighboring property owners, who have expressed environmental and public safety concerns.