The 2021 Comprehensive Plan for the city of Webster City was approved Tuesday night during the City Council meeting, though not without an objection from a local resident.
The Comprehensive Plan, which was developed over a series of months, using a steering committee of local local residents and business people, as well as the Planning and Zoning Commission members.
Planning Director Karla Wetzler said in a memo to the council that the Comprehensive Plan is a tool to assist public officials, staff, and City Boards and Commissions in the decision-making process. The plan provides justification for decisions relating to public and private land development proposals, expenditure of funds for infrastructure and public facilities, and it presents methods to address issues of pressing concern. The plan was developed by RDG Planning and Design.
Doug Ryan spoke to the council and offered his objections to the adoption of the comprehensive plan. He said he and his wife had concerns about two areas of the document — land use and implementation schedule.
He said the previous comprehensive plan adopted in 2013 showed a housing assessment developed by RDG showed that Webster City would need an additional 150 new housing units over a 10-year period.
“On page 18 of the current document, it stated that Webster City has produced 100 new housing units since 2009. There’s an obvious overlap between 2009 and 2013, but we doubt that the 155 new housing units are going to be achieved. That inconsistency makes us skeptical about other projections used throughout the document,” he said, specifically pointing to population growth projections.
Ryan also said that his property is located in what is called the priority growth areas. The plan identifies areas to the west and south of the community as priority growth locations. He said the western growth area also coincides with a voluntary annexation application by Reveiz Farms Inc. dated in February. He said the westward growth initiative initially shows up in a steering committee update in November 2020.
“We find the coincident timing of these two apparently independent but seemingly related actions to be highly suspicious,” he said.
“We think the plan is based on flawed projections of Webster City’s future growth. We think the concentration of attention on the westside of Webster City is short-sighted and affects all residents of Webster City. And we think the implementation schedule is unattainable without unidentified large expenditures. For these reasons we ask the council to reject the comprehensive plan adoption,” he said.
Charlie Cowell of RDG Planning and Design presented an overview of the comprehensive plan and explained that it is designed only for guidance in decision making, and that the map of priority growth areas is not meant to be a city land acquisition map.
The council approved the adoption of the plan.
The full Comprehensive Plan is available in the council agenda packet on the city website, www.webstercity.com
View this article as it originally appeared in the Daily Freeman-Journal.
Last modified: July 7, 2021