Development Services

Cargill Railyard


City staff will make periodic updates to this site as new information is received.

On September 16, 2019, Cargill submitted an application for a rezoning and a future land use map amendment (Case No. RZNE-029592-2019 and Case No. FLUMA-029594-2019) for a property known as "Stewart Road Property," to the south of the Rompot neighborhood in Cedar Rapids.  City staff is currently reviewing their application to determine next steps in  the process. 

Check back for project updates, FAQs, timelines, and public documents.   

Site Map
Cargill Location Map

Recently Submitted Documents

 


Key Project Milestones 

  • September 16, 2019 // Cargill submitted an application for a rezoning and a future land use map amendment
  • October 16, 2019 // 5pm - 6pm // Cedar Valley Park // Neighborhood meeting (scheduled by Cargill) 
  • TENTATIVE // November 7, 2019 // 3pm // City Hall // Public Hearing, City Planning Commission 
  • TBD // Public Hearing and 1st vote, City Council 
  • TBD // 2nd and 3rd votes, City Council 

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Frequently Asked Questions
Updated September 19, 2019 

1. What’s the history on this project?
Cargill has considered multiple sites for a railyard to serve their Cedar Rapids plant. Below is a brief summary of the two sites which came before the City.

In 2018, the City issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to sell the land commonly referred to as the “Stewart Road Property” on the south side of the Rompot neighborhood. Cargill was the only respondent to the RFP and City Council voted to move forward with negotiations for the City to sell the property to Cargill.

Cargill then looked seriously at another privately owned site, commonly referred to as the “Farm property” bounded by Otis Road SE and Prairie Park Fishery Drive SE. Cargill applied for an Essential Services designation for the Farm property, which was heard by the City’s Planning Commission (with a recommendation for approval), followed by the City Council. City Council’s resolution for an Essential Services designation died for a lack of a motion, after a public hearing. City Council’s decision to allow staff to negotiate a deal on the Stewart Road Property still stands.


2. What happened to the Essential Services designation application?
City Council recently held a public hearing for an “Essential Services designation” (Case #: PSDP-028113-2018) for a railyard to be installed at the property bounded by Otis Road SE and Prairie Park Fishery Drive SE (the “Farm Property”). The resolution before the Council, was not motioned nor seconded, and therefore the Essential Services designation didn't pass.

3. Which site is Cargill considering now?
Cargill has stated that they are interested in moving back to the Stewart Road property, on the south side of the Rompot neighborhood. An application (Case #s: RZNE-029592-2019 and FLUMA-029594-2019) was received by Cargill (the applicant) on September 16, 2019. Documentation submitted by Cargill can be found under "Recently Submitted Documents" above. 

4. Is an Essential Service Designation needed for the Stewart Road Property?
As a rezoning and future land use map amendment (FLUMA) is now being pursued for the Stewart Road property, an additional essential service designation would not be necessary.

5. Will the proposed site (Stewart Road Property) be rezoned under the current zoning ordinance
or the previous one?
The previous Essential Services designation application was reviewed under the old zoning code. This new application will be reviewed under the City’s new zoning ordinance, which was adopted in 2018, effective January 1, 2019.

6. What are the steps for a rezoning and future land use map amendment (FLUMA) at the Stewart
Road Property?
Now that an application has been received, the following steps will follow:

  • i. A review by City staff, requesting additional information where applicable;
  • ii. A public hearing by the City’s Planning Commission. The CPC will will recommend approval, or deny the application.
  • iii. A public hearing by the City Council;
  • iv. Three (3) readings (votes) by the City Council, potentially on 3 separate occasions (although the 2nd and 3rd votes can be combined). The City Council will approve or deny the application.

City zoning processes are regulated by Iowa Code. They are based on these principles:

  • i. A landowner has the right to request a change in land use. This request is acted upon by the City Planning Commission and City Council.
  • ii. Members of the public have the right to support or object to the proposed changes and be heard in a public forum.
  • iii. City Planning Commission and City Council are to give full consideration of the request weighing the balance of needs of both the public and the applicant.
  • iv. City staff review a landowner’s application and supporting documents, such as plans and reports. If the application is determined to be complete, it may proceed to City Planning Commission and City Council.

7. What influence does the City have on where Cargill sites their railyard?
The City’s Zoning and Future Land Use maps can help a private developer determine potential sites for a specific use. The City Planning Commission and City Council review and then approve or deny a proposed rezoning and future land use map amendment (FLUMA). Developers are ultimately responsible for initiating and submitting land development proposals for consideration. City staff does not provide formal opinions of
preference for specific sites or uses.

8. What is Development Services (city staff’s) role in the next steps?
City Staff’s role is twofold:

  • i. Development Services staff will facilitate a rezoning and future land use map amendment (FLUMA) process, presenting pertinent information at the City Planning Commission and City Council, and answering technical questions about the rezoning.
  • ii. As the subject property is currently City owned, Community Development staff will work with the applicant on negotiating the terms of a development agreement, as directed by City Council in August 2018, to facilitate the transfer of ownership.

9. What zone is the property currently?
The entire Stewart Road property is currently zoned S-RLL – Suburban Residential Large Lot. More detail on what this allows can be found in the City’s Zoning Ordinance.

10. What zone is being proposed?
A southern portion of the Stewart Road property is being considered for rezoning to I-GI– General Industrial. More detail on what this allows can be found in the City’s Zoning Ordinance. The remainder of the property will remain as is.

11. Who currently owns the site?
The City currently owns the Stewart Road site and has done since 1997. In 2018, the City issued a request for proposals (RFP). Cargill was the only respondent to the RFP and City Council voted to move forward with negotiations for the City to sell the property to Cargill. City Council’s decision to allow staff to negotiate a deal on the Stewart Road Property still stands.

12. What outreach will Cargill be required to do with the adjacent neighborhood?
We have requested that Cargill conduct a neighborhood meeting prior to any consideration by the City Planning Commission or City Council. Cargill is responsible for informing the neighborhood of their meeting. We will also post the details once we receive them. City Staff will also likely attend to answer questions about the review and approval process.

13. Can I provide input on this rezoning and future land use map amendment (FLUMA)?
You are welcome to provide input and ask questions at any time. This can be done at the public hearings, or by letter or emails prior to the public hearings. All correspondence to the City becomes public record and will be reviewed by staff, City Planning Commission and City Council.

Emails can be sent to

14. Can the rezoning and future land use map amendment (FLUMA) action be delayed?
The action can be delayed if the applicant requests it or if the City Council requires more information. Staff would not delay an application unless it was found to be incomplete. 

15. Is the Stewart Road property precluded from being used for a Railyard by any other restrictions? 
No – subject to the rezoning and future land use map amendment (FLUMA). However, in 2017, the City received grant monies from a State of Iowa REAP grant to plant prairie at the Stewart Road property. The City can request to repay the grant monies or to replant an equivalent quantity of prairie in another location to replace what might be disturbed with development of Cargill’s railyard. Cargill will reimburse the City for this relocation project. The area is not deed restricted for any other purpose.

16. Will Cargill be subject to the same conditions made by the City Planning Commission for the
previous site?
The City intends to apply the same or very similar conditions to the new site.

17. What is Cargill doing to mitigate the impact of their proposed railyard?
Cargill is proposing to mitigate for the following concerns, expressed in various ways by the neighborhood:

  • Noise
  • Air Quality
  • Visual Impacts
  • Stormwater Quality
  • Lighting
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Hours of Operation
  • Etc.

More details on how these issues will be mitigated can be found in the technical documents submitted as part of the rezoning and future land use map amendment (FLUMA) application, to be provided on this web page once those documents are received.

18. Will siting the railyard at the Stewart Road property mean that the Rompot neighborhood is
protected from flooding?
Likely not. Although Cargill is proposing a large berm between the railyard and the neighborhood, it will not be “tied in” at either end, meaning that floodwaters from the Cedar River could still flow around both ends of the berm into the neighborhood.

19. How do I keep up to date with new information about the project?

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