WATERLOO — A planned housing subdivision around Orange Elementary School went back to the drawing board to address neighborhood concerns.
Developer Hope Martin “Buzz” Anderson won an endorsement from the Waterloo Planning, Programming and Zoning Commission last month for his proposed Paradise Estates Addition at Kimball Avenue and Orange Road.
But extreme opposition from neighbors to elements of his plan, including several lots where offices could be constructed, prompted Anderson to meet with neighbors and return to the commission Tuesday with a new plan.
WATERLOO — Plans for new homes around Orange Elementary School have won an endorsement from city zoning officials to the dismay of neighbors.
“We felt it was best to come back through, zone everything R1 and get a nice, clean slate and just move forward,” said Alex Bower, an engineer working on Anderson’s development.
Zoning commissioners voted unanimously again to endorse the new zoning for the current agricultural land, which would limit the entire 129-acre site to one- and two-family houses.
The measure now goes to the City Council for final approval.
Numerous residents from the surrounding Orange neighborhood last month had voiced concerns about the development, including the proposed inclusion of commercial lots, drainage, water pressure, loss of prime ag land, traffic and more.
Most of those speaking during Tuesday’s meeting were complimentary of Anderson’s willingness to meet with them and listen to their concerns. But several speakers were still concerned about the proposed lot sizes being smaller than existing lots in the area.
A preliminary site plan for Paradise Estates shows the 210 lots would range in size from one-fourth to three-quarters of an acre in size.
“One of the things Mr. Anderson wanted to do was have something for everybody in this development,” Bower said.
But Trudie Friedly was among several neighbors who urged Anderson to have a minimum half-acre lot size, which is comparable to the surrounding neighborhood. She said smaller lots encourage fences.
“That’s not our current neighborhood in Orange,” Friedly said. “You don’t see privacy fences. We enjoy the opportunity to visit with our neighbors in our large yards.”
Bob Manning, executive officer for the Cedar Valley Homebuilders Association, which is supporting the development, said having some smaller lots makes the development more viable economically.
While the older Orange neighborhood was developed with narrow streets and no curb and gutter, new developments like Paradise Estates must invest more into infrastructure. More costs drive the need for more lots to generate enough revenue.
“It’s not comparing oranges to oranges,” Manning said of the older and proposed development.
Community Planning and Development Director Noel Anderson said the lot sizes and layout will be addressed during a future platting process. A traffic study must also be conducted before the final plat, he said.
Zoning commissioner Sue Flynn commended Anderson and the neighbors for working out some of their differences from last month.
“This was a collaborative effort where I think people worked together to address concerns and to also listen to each other,” she said.