Dubuque council approves rezoning for gated community

What could be the city of Dubuque’s first gated community crossed a major hurdle on Monday.

City Council members unanimously approved a rezoning request for the proposed project, which would include the construction of 35 single-family homes for residents 55 and older on a 14-acre plot near the intersection of John F. Kennedy and Derby Grange roads, along with private streets, a clubhouse and a parking lot.

Council members voted to rezone the property from single-family residential to planned unit development with a planned residential designation.

During their previous meeting, council members approved a first reading of the rezoning request but chose to not waive the two additional readings in order to give the developer, Ewing Properties, time to respond to concerns voiced by residents living near the property.

However, Wally Wernimont, planning services manager for the city, said Monday night that he received few complaints or concerns for the project since the last council meeting.

“Normally, if we have a second reading, we have more of an outpouring and more people contact us,” Wernimont said. “We really didn’t have that.”

No residents spoke in opposition or in favor of the project on Monday.

Several residents had provided input to the City Council detailing concerns over eliminated greenspace, reduced property values and impact on water runoff and erosion. Wernimont said several property owners who previously opposed the project contacted the city to say they had changed their minds after learning more about the development.

“Several property owners contacted me and related to me that once they heard the public hearing last month, they really don’t have any concerns,” Wernimont said.

Mayor Roy Buol said many of the questions people had regarding the project already were answered by the developer.

“I had people call me and say, ‘What did you delay that for?’” Buol said.

The project would create the first gated, cooperative community in the city. People wishing to move into one of the homes would be required to purchase a share in the community for $215,000 to $305,000, along with paying monthly fees for master mortgage, property taxes, insurance and professional management.

A city staff report on the project concluded that the development aligned with the goals of the city’s comprehensive plan by adding more housing options for older Dubuque residents.

City documents state that while the entrances to the community will be gated, the perimeter of the properties would be lined with trees and bushes, instead of a fence.

The gated community would be located next to the Rustic Points Estates subdivision. Home sizes would range from 1,400 to 2,000 square feet.

Conceptual plans show the clubhouse will feature a lounge, kitchen, fitness center and pickleball courts.

Council Member Laura Roussell said she is glad residents were given enough time to voice their concerns for the project, adding that she ultimately supports the development.