Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
KALONA - New houses, condos and apartments will be popping up soon in Kalona in an area that has been dubbed Southtown.
The city of Kalona recently annexed 600 acres of property that includes land formerly belonging to Shiloh, a branch of The Living Word Fellowship church. Shiloh has since announced it has left The Living Word Fellowship and is no longer in need of the land.
The Shiloh land – bordered on the north by 133rd Street and to the east by Nutmeg Avenue – was annexed into city limits. The recently annexed property includes land owned by Marilyn Farms and Larry and Evelyn Hershberger.
A developer, C.J. Moyna & Sons, has purchased 280 acres of land for a new subdivision, North Ridge. On Tuesday, City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh said the Planning and Zoning Commission would meet Wednesday night to discuss rezoning the property.
'When the land was annexed into the city, it came in as ag land,” he said.
The proposed plans for Southtown's new subdivision include 64 lots. Schlabaugh said the majority of them will be for single family dwellings, but plans for some condos and apartments have been included as well.
While the council waits for the Planning and Zoning Commission to approve the rezoning, the city has been working with the developer to have the area designated as an urban renewal area.
Schlabaugh said that designation will allow the city to use tax increment financing for infrastructure incentives.
Because the area is so large, Schlabaugh said it will take time before development begins, but C.J. Moyna & Sons is hoping to get onto the property soon. Activity on home building could begin as early as spring 2021, he said.
'Our goal is that we can get ourselves in a position that the developer will be able to mobilize here in the next month or so to be able to move earth,” he said, explaining the developer would like to get onto the land before it freezes.
In addition to housing, portions of the land will be deeded into the city for recreational use, he said. With ponds and an existing trail system already in place, Schlabaugh said the city is in talks with Washington County Conservation officials to see how a management agreement would benefit both entities.
'The goal would be that we would partner with county conservation to manage some of those large parcel areas,” he said. 'We'd like to make some of those areas publicly accessible fairly quickly.”