The Bettendorf City Council advanced a preliminary subdivision proposal by Dolan Homes that has faced pushback by neighbors at several public meetings.
Dolan Homes is proposing 26 single-family attached homes geared toward seniors priced in the mid-$400,000 range near Lincoln and Kimberly roads in Bettendorf. Kevin Dolan, the developer, said senior-geared houses are in demand in the Quad-Cities.
The development would be in a wooded ravine-like area that nearby residents appreciate for the nature and wildlife. Residents expressed concerns, including at Tuesday’s meeting, about added traffic from the subdivision around a tight S curve, loss of trees and that the proposed villas won’t match the neighborhoods around it.
The council voted 5-2 to pass the preliminary plat, with council members Jerry Sechser, Ward 1, and Lisa Brown, at-large, voting against and Frank Baden, at-large; Scott Naumann, Ward 2; Bill Connors, Ward 3; Greg Adamson, Ward 4; and Scott Webster, Ward 5, voting for it.
Brown said she didn’t believe that the subdivision aligned with a land suitability map in Bettendorf’s comprehensive plan and said she didn’t think two stop signs would be enough to make the area safe from added traffic on a narrow Lincoln Road.
“We're here for the citizens,” she said. “That's why we were elected. So, I've been listening to tons of calls and emails and it's a great development, but we should help him locate it and find a spot in Bettendorf that maybe would be suitable.”
Sechser cited the comprehensive plan and the city attorney in voting the proposal down. City attorney Christopher Curran said members of the council were voting in a quasi-judicial manner, meaning they are making a judgement on whether the proposal aligned with city code. However, Curran said the city council could apply a balancing test: balancing the interests of and impact of the decision on the property owner, the current residents and the future residents.
“So while this development has met technical requirements,” Sechser said. “There's another side.”
“In accordance with comprehensive plan of the city,” Sechser continued, reading from the city’s document. “It's essential that new developments for current undeveloped land meet established minimum standards such as water, sewer and roads, and promote the health, safety and general welfare of the public. ...
“I think this a good project, except it's in the wrong place,” Sechser said.
In encouraging other members of the council to vote to approve the preliminary plat, Connors said that the plan wasn’t a rezoning or site development plan, it was a preliminary plat and it met all of the requirements.
“You should go and approve the preliminary plat as recommended by our professional staff because it meets all of our requirements,” Connors said. “And that's what we're supposed to be considering.”
Dolan said he would commit to changing the name of the subdivision from “Cottages at McClellan Heights,” add in a fountain to the retention pond so it wouldn’t collect algae, and try to keep existing or plant new trees for landscaping.
The subdivision will have to be presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council again as a final plat, which would be the August's zoning meeting, Aug. 18, and the first council meeting in September, Sept. 7.