CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) – The Cedar Rapids City Planning Commission endorsed Cargill’s plans for a proposed railyard on the southeast side of town Thursday by a vote of 4-3. The agriculture company will now try again for city council’s approval at a meeting later this month.
Cargill is now looking to rezone city-owned land south of the corner of Stewart Road SE and Otis Avenue SE. The company originally targeted this site a year ago, before switching to the “Otis Road Property” to the northwest.
City council denied Cargill’s proposal at this site in late August.
The company is proposing a buffer area between the railyard and the surrounding neighborhood and has done studies for noise, environmental and property value impacts.
Still, the majority of neighbors in the area don’t want the “intrusion” in their community.
“It’s been agricultural, I’ve been there for 65 years. My family was there. And now I’m being told Cargill has the right to bring an industrial railyard over the hill,” Al Lucas said.
Some residents think the city is spending more time communicating with Cargill and feel their cries have fallen flat.
“It (Cedar Rapids Development Services) is supposed to both tell Cargill’s story and it’s supposed to tell the story of all affected parties,” Kerry Sanders said, president of Build Trails, Not Rails. “There’s no information in there from anybody in the nature corridor. There’s no information in there from anybody in this community.”
Cargill has touted there is a level of support from some neighbors for the new location.
“There’s neighbors in the audience today that are very supportive. And those neighbors are the closest and most affected,” Dan Pulis said, Caregill’s Cedar Rapids plant manager.
Cargill’s rezoning application is set to go before the city council on November 19.