Northwest FD residents want business growth

Restaurants on Third Avenue Northwest and a truck stop close to U.S. Highway 169 would be welcome additions to the northwestern side of Fort Dodge, according to residents at a Wednesday evening planning session.

They talked about what kinds of businesses they’d like to see and where those establishments might be located as a part of the process of developing a plan for the Third Avenue Northwest corridor and the neighborhood immediately south of it.

About 15 people attended a session at the Best Western Starlite Village Inn & Suites, 1518 Third Ave. N.W, dedicated to the issues of land use and zoning.

Many of those attending expressed a preference for zoning designations that would be favorable to business growth.

”Leave it commercial and see if we can get something more up in this area,” said Delores Taylor. ”We don’t want to discourage any expansion of industry.”

Gale McKinney said the kind of land use regulation called arterial commercial zoning allows the most business opportunities.

”I think I’ve heard keep the commercial zoning, it provides flexibility,” said Stephanie Houk Sheetz, the senior city planner.

Sheetz said zoning is the regulation that dictates how land can be used.

She said that 44 percent of the land in the area is zoned for residential use, while 39 percent of it is zoned for commercial use. She said 17 percent is in a conservation zone because of steep slopes and the presence of Lizard Creek.

During the second half of the meeting, the residents were given maps plus some cards representing various types of businesses and were invited to show how they envision the neighborhood looking in the future. They were divided into three groups to work on the maps.

The three groups agreed on a few key elements, including:

A fast food restaurant near the junction of Third Avenue Northwest and U.S. Highway 169.

A truck stop along U.S. Highway 169.

Restaurants on Third Avenue Northwest, close to the Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. site.

A grocery store, probably located near U.S. Highway 169.

Sheetz said traffic counts are a factor businesses consider when deciding where to open new sites. The most recent traffic counts, she said, show that an average of 5,000 to 7,000 vehicles a day travel on Third Avenue Northwest. But she said those counts are a few years old and may not reflect increased traffic due to the expansion of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. and the construction of the industral park west of the city called Iowa’s Crossroads of Global Innovation.