Trenton Town Board denies zoning request for resort

Posted 8/18/21

TRENTON TOWN BOARD – At its Aug. 10 meeting, the Trenton Town Board voted 5-0 to deny a rezoning request by Fred Plaas that would change his property from rural residential 20 to a general rural …

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Trenton Town Board denies zoning request for resort


TRENTON TOWN BOARD – At its Aug. 10 meeting, the Trenton Town Board voted 5-0 to deny a rezoning request by Fred Plaas that would change his property from rural residential 20 to a general rural flexible zone so that he could build a cabin resort.

Plaas said he has no current plans for the land after the zoning request was denied. “Like I said, nothing at this time, it will just sit until I find out what other options are possible,” Plaas said.

Plaas had proposed to build a cabin campsite resort with 26 cabins spread over six acres at his property off 810th Street in Hager City. He felt the site was right for it, considering its location along the Mississippi back channel and proximity to bars and restaurants.

Based on public comment the board had received from a public hearing two weeks ago and calls they had received from community members, it was clear cut for the entire board that the majority of people in the community were not in favor of this resort proposal.

“I've done a lot of thinking on this, too. I didn't know, probably a good idea tax wise, not going to help Trenton much overall. I checked into that. The traffic is another issue. That is a bad corner on 810th. I've had two people tell me it's a good deal and I've had about 30 call me and some not even from the area down there and said that they hate to see it happen. So that's just the way I feel about it,” said board member Randall Christiansen.

“I'm also concerned about the road, part of the area both for the intersections themselves, as well as the upkeep of the road,” said board member Chris Truttmann on her concerns for this project. “There's going to be a lot of additional traffic and I do know that there are concerns. I know some of it was specifically to when the ground is still frozen and water issues in the area. So I am not certain about the thought of 26 cabins with people taking showers, washing dishes, using the bathroom and so forth. How is that not going to somehow impact water concerns in the area?” TRENTON

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Public comment

Those who spoke during public comment mainly gave opinions on the resort project. One gentleman said, “It’s a fine project; it’ll be quite big with 26 units. It’s just the wrong place. Residents take pride in where they live and it would change the neighborhood. And what happens in four or five years when Fred sells it for an exorbitant profit?”

One woman who spoke during public comment shared her concerns about the resort bringing in more noise than the current residents would like to have.

“We don't want more trouble, we've had a lot of trouble in our neighborhood, with things not being taken care of. We don't need more issues in our area and with the resort, there would be more fireworks, which would disturb more dogs. And with a fireworks store close by, we have enough fireworks in our area, during holidays and during weekends and whatever. So it would totally change the environment in our area. It's just too big for that area.”

Plaas reassured the public that fireworks would not be allowed at the resort if the town board approved the zoning change.

“There's 50 feet of woods planned all the way around. Everybody is worried about what may happen if I end up selling the resort in the future and what could change, but we aren't even at the point to begin to worry about that,” said Plaas.

ARPA spending

The board began discussion on how it intends to spend the first $110,000 of $220,000 it has received from the American Rescue Plan Act. No votes were made on how the board will spend the first half of the money they have received in 2021, but Board Chair Brian Berg suggested looking into expanding broadband coverage, specifically for low-income households with little to no internet access.

Town Clerk Steve Thoms also made note of revenue the town lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic, estimating a range of $50,000$60,000 lost from tourism and other township funds. These losses can be reimbursed through ARPA and would go into the general township fund for future needs.

Additional speed limit signs

The town board voted to add four additional speed limit signs along the intersections of 830th Street that connects with County Road K and leads to Highway 35. The plan is to have the signs listed at 35 miles per hour and help keep traffic from speeding where pedestrians like to take walks and where kids like to ride their bicycles along 830th Street.

New town vehicle purchase

Berg addressed the need for the town to purchase a new half-ton full-bed pickup to replace the current one that is aging. Berg noted the difficulty of getting the right truck for the township, as they sell out quickly, according to dealerships with which he has been in contact.

“Last month I found a place in western Iowa that sells rust-free Western trucks, 100,000-mile service trucks and also we priced those and they're coming in at about $15,000. We'll come to get on board. But they sell out rather quickly as I asked to put one on hold, then asked to have it taken off and it sold a couple hours after to someone else,” Berg said.

The board voted to purchase a 2012 Ford half-ton from the western Iowa dealership that has 101,000 miles on it at the rate of $16,000, $2,000 more than the asking price.

The next Trenton Town Board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14.