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WDM commission OKs rezoning for proposed golf venue


A proposal to build a golf entertainment venue on the southwest corner of Interstate Highway 35 and Grand Avenue in West Des Moines overcame the first of several hurdles this week when a city commission approved a rezoning request.

Developer Paul Cownie is partnering with a Fargo, N.D., developer to bring Suite Shots, a three-story building with a restaurant, bar and 60 climate-controlled bays from which golfers hit balls onto a range, to the 25-acre site on the south side of Grand Avenue. (Map at right.)

Some residents who live in the nearby Glen Oaks gated community oppose the $26 million development saying it doesn’t fit with the character of the area. They also have raised concerns that the proposed project will adversely affect the value of their property and increase traffic along Grand Avenue.

The West Des Moines Plan and Zoning Commission on Monday approved a request to amend the city’s comprehensive plan land use map and establish a planned unit development ordinance for the property. The commission voted 4-0 to approve the two requests. Two members abstained from voting.

West Des Moines city staff contacted 34 cities or counties that have similar golf entertainment venues in their jurisdictions about how the facilities affected property values, according to information provided the commission. Of the 14 responses the city received “none indicated a lowering of value due to proximity of the golf facility,” according to the staff report.

The staff also asked 24 planning departments with golf entertainment venues about the complaints regarding the facilities. “Eleven responses were received with information provided to staff suggesting that while there may have been initial ‘fear of the unknown; concerns, overall there have been very few complaints and, the facilities have been embraced and [have] been good for the community,” according to information provided the commission.

One community noted noise issues with an outdoor patio, but the situation was remedied when outdoor concerts were prohibited and a security guard hired, according to the staff report.

The West Des Moines City Council is scheduled to vote on the zoning request at its meeting on Monday.

Related article: Legal action threatened if zoning is changed to allow golf entertainment venue

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