The Perry Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) approved Tuesday a preliminary site plan for two 30-unit, market-rate apartment houses at 28th and McKinley streets, the first elements of an anticipated planned unit development (PUD) on the 11.78-acre parcel that might also include duplexes and single-family houses.
David Bentz, vice president of Urbandale-based Bishop Engineering Co., presented the draft plan to the commission and answered questions about the project, which would occupy about four acres at the north end of the property along McKinley Street.
Green Stream Homes of Iowa LLC is developing the property, which was bought from the Herman L. Rowley Memorial Trust in November 2018 by Dallas County land speculator LeMar Koethe for $100,000. The P&Z approved rezoning the land from agricultural to residential at its Aug. 13 meeting.
Bentz said the apartment houses — called multi-family units by developers — would include 58 parking stalls and 45 garages, with a large stormwater detention pond on the east side of the ground between the apartments and the residences on 30th Street. He said the lower-lying ground at the south end of the property presents construction challenges.
“You’ve got a very large, much bigger detention basin than you need,” Bentz said. “The reason we’re doing that is because we’re carving out as much dirt as we can to build up this pad and maybe use some to the south so that becomes profitable. Right now it’s just not making money to do what the developer wanted to do for lack of dirt.”
The rapid growth of the metro suburbs has created a high demand for fill dirt, Bentz said, which now sells at a premium price. He estimated some 20,000 yards of fill dirt would be needed in order to build on the swampy southern end of the parcel. When a builder is “hauling in dirt, with EPA regulations and SWPPP guidelines, they charge you about $10 to $15 a yard to haul it in,” he said.
The low-lying ground makes sanitary sewer access and storm water management more costly.
“There’s a lot of utility challenges on this piece,” Bentz said. “We’ve got to build these multi-family units up quite a bit just to get sewer service to it, so we’re bringing sewer up the road there to the west and then going to bring it in on the south side of the two multi-family units. We’re still trying to consider what happens to the south. We’re trying not to block off the south even if my developer walks away from it. We want to make sure that storm sewer can get up there and the sanitary.”
He said sanitary sewer lift stations for the houses and duplexes at the south end are another possible option. The P&Z members also asked Bentz about planned landscaping, parking arrangements and sidewalks at the 60-unit complex.
“Probably the biggest issue, which we talked about last time, is the sidewalk,” Bentz said. “It’s the only outstanding item that I know of. Do we put it in now, or do we put it in later?”
Perry Community and Economic Development Director Mike Fastenau, who also serves as secretary to the P&Z Commission, said the Perry Code of Ordinances requires new residential developments to include sidewalks. The question of when and where to build a sidewalk at the proposed apartment complex is complicated by anticipated improvements to McKinley Street and the extension northward of 28th Street.
After some discussion, the commission agreed it was “comfortable with the concept and layout and the use of the land” in the preliminary site plan. P&Z Vice-Chair Ron Leber moved and P&Z member Matt McDevitt seconded a resolution to report to the Perry City Council with a recommendation for approval of the preliminary plan contingent upon the city’s receiving a final plan.
The votes of P&Z Chair Erin Butler and P&Z member Frank Eiteman made the decision unanimous. P&Z members J. P. Hulgan and Alice Miskimins were absent.
The Perry City Council is expected to take up the matter at its next regular meeting, Monday, Sept. 16 at 6 p.m. in the Clarion Room of the Security Bank Building at 1102 Willis Ave.