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Granger annexation includes residential, commercial development


The state’s approval of the annexation of 503 acres south and east of Granger could pave the way for both residential and commercial development as the community of about 2,000 people prepares for rapid growth spreading from the metro.

The state’s City Development Board, which is part of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, approved the voluntary annexation on July 12.

In addition to a $115 million mixed-use development, known as Lambert’s Landing, Hope K Farms LLC is planning a development in the annexed area.

According to City Development Board documents, most of the landowners have generational ties to Granger. They realize that the area is undergoing rapid development and want the land to remain part of the Granger community.

“All the annexation … is 100% landowner driven,” Granger city administrator Kirk Bjorland said. “It’s kind of a changing of the guard. We have retirees or those close to retirement and slowing down who own a tremendous amount of ground around the Granger area, and they want to make sure their roots stay connected to Granger.”

Tim Day, director of real estate development for Hope K Farms, said its development, which would be on the land east of Granger, would primarily be for single-family homes.

“There could be some lots we would propose along [Iowa Highway] 141 that could be light commercial, nothing industrial per se,”  he said. “The terrain there lends itself more to single-family residential.”

Day said no development would be expected to happen for maybe two years. The previous owner moved to Indiana and was leasing the property to a local farmer, and Day said Hope K Farms is continuing those arrangements until development would begin.

“It’s still pretty green out there, still rural, still ag, and it will probably stay that way for a couple of years,” he said.

The area included in the annexation is still zoned agricultural, documents show.

David Albright, partner in MADD LLC, said of the 174 acres they purchased for the Lambert’s Landing development, only about 65 are developable. They are working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Iowa Department of Natural Resources on a wetland mitigation project on 81 of the acres that border the Brenton Slough, he said.

The mitigation project will include expanding the existing wetlands, which will remain in a conservation district that borders three sides of the property.

Once those needs were identified, the developers looked at possible residential uses, Albright said. The residential uses include 64 lots for what Albright described as active adult villas and a clubhouse. The proposal also calls for the construction of 10 30-unit apartment buildings. There would also be 24 single-family estate lots that average 1 to 3 acres in size, Albright said.

He said the plan also includes retail development on 14 acres along Iowa 141.

MADD LLC needs to have a preliminary plat for the project submitted to Granger’s Planning and Zoning Commission on Aug. 29.

“It’s keeping the pristine aesthetics, wildlife and rural views with housing to meet the needs of young families, seniors and estate living,” Albright said.

Of the 503 acres that were annexed, 498 are in Polk County, and about 4.9 acres are in Dallas County. There are also about 67 acres that are Iowa Department of Transportation right-of-way, with just over 3 acres being Polk County right-of-way.  

Bjorland, Granger’s city administrator, said the annexation is just the latest plan for growth for Granger, which is issuing an average of 50 to 60 residential building permits a year.

“You can look at the western suburbs from Van Meter to West Des Moines, Clive, Urbandale, Grimes and Waukee, and we’re trying to judge what percentage of that are we going to see,” he said. “It’s a little early for us to do that, but we are well positioned with our infrastructure to do that.”

Bjorland said the city is preparing to handle a population of 5,000, although, there isn’t a timeline for when it could reach that number.

“The metro is heading this way, and we’re putting plans in place to embrace that growth,” he said.


Michael Crumb

Michael Crumb is a senior staff writer at Business Record. He covers economic development, transportation, energy & environment, culture, sales & marketing.

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