DYERSVILLE, Iowa — In the coming years, some Dyersville-area landowners might face the complicated question of whether to become part of the city via voluntary annexation.
But weighing the costs and benefits is a dollars-and-cents decision, said Dubuque County resident Brian Jacque, who lives southeast of the city limits.
“It comes down to numbers,” he said.
Jacque was one of more than 30 people who attended an informational meeting Wednesday in which a Dyersville annexation study was presented. It highlighted potential areas for the future growth of the municipality’s borders.
“This is not a study to provoke involuntary annexation,” said Charlie Cowell, an urban planner with RDG, the Des Moines planning and design company that drafted the report. “In all honesty, the growth rate in Dyersville in the next 10, 15, 20 years — a lot of that growth could be accommodated within city limits.”
Of the about 4,400 acres within the city limits, only 1,800 are developed.
However, annexation might be warranted to protect future development patterns, if development opportunities become available that could connect city services to existing development or if the city’s population growth exceeds forecasts, Cowell said.
The study reviewed eight “growth areas” for potential annexation, previously identified in a city comprehensive plan that was developed in 2018.
To the north of the city limits along Iowa 136, the study proposed high-density residential and commercial development.
Further west, the area between Second Street Northeast and Dubuque County X49 could provide space for the growth of existing neighborhoods.
Meanwhile to the east, land adjacent to Golf Course Road is already home to residences that could be annexed into the city, but undeveloped agricultural land also could be considered for future use.
Land along Dyersville East Road also could serve as a location for lower-density residences.
South of U.S. 20, the study highlighted multiple subdivisions that are under development east of Iowa 136. Of lesser priority for annexation is land adjacent to 20 West Industrial Park for its expansion.
Finally, the area west of Seventh Street Southwest and south of Tegeler Pond largely could serve as future industrial space, the study noted.
Mayor Jim Heavens asked City Council members in attendance how the city should address inquiries from property owners who are weighing the merits of annexation and what incentives the city can offer them.
“It’s a little bit more of a complicated business decision than it would appear on the surface,” he said.
City Administrator Mick Michel said city staff can provide Dubuque County residents with tax estimates, but he added that city officials will consider the financial merits of annexing groups of properties and cannot guarantee the provision of water and sewer services.
City Council members will decide at a future meeting whether to approve the study and determine what action, if any, to take concerning annexation proposals.