Kalona council sets annexation hearings

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The city of Kalona is moving forward with the annexation of the former Shiloh church property south of city limits.

The City Council scheduled two public hearings on the voluntary annexation: The first on April 6 and the second on April 13.

“We’re still up in the air for the (April 6) meeting whether it will be in-person or on Zoom,” City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh said.

Zoom is a videoconferencing program that several entities have been using to conduct public meetings during the COVID-19 crisis.

Schlabaugh said that the council will take no official action at the April 6 meeting.

“It’s just to hear public comments,” he said. “People can weigh in on the pros and cons of annexation.”

The council may take action following the April 13 hearing, however.

The proposed annexation includes the former Shiloh property, parts of Marilyn Farms and property owned by Larry and Evelyn Hersberger. In all, about 600 acres of land would be brought into the city limits.

Also included in the annexation is 2.16 acres of city-owned land that abuts the city’s northern corporate limit.

Schlabaugh said that the land is part of a purchase the city made a while back that will be used for flood mitigation purposes.

Last week, the Washington County Board of Supervisors gave its stamp of approval for the annexation, issuing a letter of support.

The former church property will be developed into single- and multi-family residential dwellings and rebranded as the Southtown Area of Kalona.

The city of Kalona is also working with the developer to set aside acreage for recreational use.

Schlabaugh said that the city would work with the Washington County Conservation Board to manage the recreational land.

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