Council approves extension to Woods Estates of Riverdale preliminary plat.

Council approves extension to Woods Estates of Riverdale preliminary plat.

A special meeting of the Riverdale City Council was held on Monday evening (December 2nd) to consider extending the preliminary plat for the Woods Estates of Riverdale subdivision. The extension was requested by Woods’s attorney, Joseph Judge of Lane & Waterman. You can view that request here.

According to the City’s Subdivision Ordinance, the Council can grant an extension to a preliminary plat if a request is received from the subdivider and the Planning & Zoning Commission Chair provides his advice on the matter. In this case, the Commission Chair, Bill Briesch, advised against granting the extension, citing a variety of questions about the project and a desire for residents to be able to weigh in with their questions as well.

Residents present at the Council Meeting were granted time to ask questions and state their concerns for the record as part of the meeting. Mayor Mike Bawden added that while he shared the concern expressed by Chairman Briesch, there would be – in the mayor’s opinion – adequate time for people and P&Z Commissioners to research and ask questions as part of the review process for the final plat, but that the review of the final plat could not move forward if the preliminary plat was not extended.

The mayor also explained that the information originally reviewed and approved in the preliminary plat the first time (nearly 18 months earlier) had not changed. That information included:

•   a preliminary drawing showing the entire subdivision,

•   an example of the size of the proposed retention basins for the development (as an overlay over an existing subdivision), and

•   an elevation drawing showing the projected outflow of retained storm water from the proposed basins.

In the end, the resolution extending the expiration date for the preliminary plat passed on a vote of 4-0 (Council Member Chanon was not present to vote).

Special City Council Meeting planned to extend Woods Estates preliminary plat on Monday.

Special City Council Meeting planned to extend Woods Estates preliminary plat on Monday.

A special meeting of the Riverdale City Council is planned for 6:30 pm on Monday, December 2nd to grant an extension for the preliminary plat of the Woods Estates of Riverdale project. The meeting is scheduled to take place in Council Chambers prior to the public intake meeting for the FY21 budget, which is scheduled for 7pm.

A copy of the agenda for that meeting can be found here.

In a letter to the Mayor, dated November 29, Woods’s legal counsel, Joseph Judge, requested an extension for the preliminary plat to March 1, 2020 to allow for enough time to allow the City’s Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council to review the final plat, hold public hearings required by the City’s Subdivision Ordinance and take action.

“This firm (Lane & Waterman, LLP) represents Woods Construction & Development, Inc. (Woods), owner and developer of the plated property referenced above. On behalf of Woods, we hereby request an extension of the preliminary plat and the time period for filing and approval fo the final plat to March 1, 2020. We hope and expect that that final plat will be approved well before that time.”

A copy of that letter can be found here.

The City Council was prepared to take action on the initial plat extension request at its last regular meeting (held on November 26), but questions as to whether or not the preliminary plat approval had expired led to the Mayor and City Council to table the action pending further review. The initial plat had been approved in a previous City Council meeting (held in early July of 2018) and expired in February of this year.

Woods Development Subdivision Plat (Preliminary)

In order for the City Council to consider granting a new extension to the preliminary plat, a written request for the extension must be received from the subdivider (Woods) and the chair of the City’s Planning & Zoning Commission must advise on the extension (ref. Subdivision Ordinance, Ch 25.07).  Earlier today (Sunday, 12/01), the Co-Chair of the Planning & Zoning Commission, Bill Briesch, wrote that he was not comfortable with recommending the extension:

“I do not believe that we should extend the plat agreement as suggested. I believe the P and Z members as well as the residents should have the opportunity to be updated and able to voice, comment and vote their concerns.”

The Mayor disagrees with the P&Z Co-Chair.

“While I concur with the Chair that residents and commission members should have an opportunity to provide input on the subdivision plans, the preliminary plat doesn’t provide the detail required to have a substantive conversation. Furthermore, there have not been any changes made to the preliminary plat since its recommendation by P&Z and subsequent approval by the Council a little over eighteen months ago,” explained Mayor Mike Bawden.

“That’s why we felt it was appropriate to move ahead with granting the extension and focusing our time and efforts on getting the final subdivision plat through our review process. People have a limited amount of time during the holidays and it didn’t seem prudent to ask our P&Z Commissioners and City Council Members to take extra time out of their schedule just to “rubber stamp” the preliminary plat so the community can move on to reviewing and commenting on all of the detail provided with the final documentation on the subdivision plat.”

The City has received all of the required documents so the Planning & Zoning Commission can begin their review of the final plat for Woods Estates of Riverdale. The Commission will conduct a public hearing prior to considering and recommending approval or rejection of the final plat to the City Council. Dates for the public hearing and meeting of the P&Z Commission have yet to be set.

What happens next.

The special meeting of the City Council is still scheduled to take place on Monday evening. But a meeting with the City’s corporate counsel, staff and city leadership will take place earlier in the day to see what options are available to address concerns raised by the Planning & Zoning Co-Chair and by the Mayor. If the meeting is cancelled or re-scheduled, City Council Members will be notified by email and phone and an updated post will be made to the City’s website and social media.


Woods Development requests an extension for approval of the Woods Estates of Riverdale Phase I Preliminary Plat

Woods Development requests an extension for approval of the Woods Estates of Riverdale Phase I Preliminary Plat

(Updated 11-26-19) Following the publication of this original story, Riverdale’s Planning & Zoning Commission Chair, Bill Briesch, contacted the mayor to make note of the fact the commission had held no meetings in 2019, so the request for an extension was on a plat that had long-since expired. 

Records show the preliminary plat submitted by the developer (Woods Development) was approved by the Riverdale City Council in July of 2018, meaning the six-month window of opportunity to get the final plat approved had closed. This information was shared with the developer and P&Z Administrator (Tim Long, City Administrator) who are now investigating options and the proper way to move forward with review and subsequent approval of plans and plats so the Woods Estates of Riverdale subdivision can proceed.

(Original Story 11-25-19) In a letter dated November 20, 2019, attorney Jay Sommers asked the City of Riverdale to extend the period allowed for the approved preliminary plat of Phase 1 of the Woods Estates of Riverdale subdivision to be considered. The preliminary plat was originally approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council in late May of this year.

Mr. Sommers states that the regular time limit on the approved, preliminary plat is six months, but an extension can be requests. The letter sent to the City constitutes such a request.

The letter continues:

“Accordingly, pursuant to Sec. 25.07 of the City’s Subdivision Ordinance, please consider this letter a formal request for the City Council of Riverdale to grant an extension of sixty (60) days of the initial Preliminary Plat approval of Woods Estates of Riverdale – First Addition.”

A copy of the letter can be obtained by clicking here.

Developer provides photos of landscape design for new development

Developer provides photos of landscape design for new development

Developer Seth Woods provided photos of Walsh Pointe One – a housing development Woods Construction helped establish – as examples of the landscaping and foliage residents of Riverdale can expect once homes in the new Woods Estates of Riverdale project are completed.

In response to a request made by the City of Riverdale earlier in the year, Mr. Woods provided a written commitment to plant over 1,000 trees with diameters of 3″ or greater on the 100-acre development when it is finally completed. (Note: The TIF established for the project has a ten-year lifespan, so it is currently assumed the project will be completed before that – but economic conditions are a factor in the housing market and a slowdown may delay final completion.)

Mr. Woods’s statement, dated April 11, 2019 says:

Woods Construction & Development is responsible for the planting of 1,024 trees 3” diameter or greater. The covenants shall read “each lot/home is required to plant a minimum of 7 3” diameter trees”.  At a 116 lots x 8 trees each, we have 928 replanted trees.  The developer than will be planting the balance on the entrance, hillside and northeast property line of the development.

This statement squares with a previous one Mr. Woods made to the City Council back in August of 2018.

A gallery of images provided by Mr. Woods can be found below. The photos were taken from his home in Walsh Pointe.

Scott County hit with property tax assessment increase on multiresidential properties.

Scott County hit with property tax assessment increase on multiresidential properties.

The City of Riverdale was notified today (10/02) that the State of Iowa has ordered the Scott County Assessor to increase valuations on multiresidential and dual-classified properties by more than 20%. Three properties in Riverdale are effected by the order.

The notification from the Tom McManus, the Scott County Assessor read as follows:

I want to inform you that Scott County received an assessment equalization order from the Iowa Department of Revenue.  Multiresidential and Dual-Classified (multiresidential portion only) properties in Scott County will have their assessed values increased +21%.  No other class of property received an equalization order.  You may start hearing some feedback from multiresidential property owners in the community.  Please feel free to direct all questions to the County Assessor’s Office 563-326-8635 or  We will answer all questions property owners have and also inform them of their right to appeal the new assessment and explain the process to them.  Only multiresidential property owners affected by the equalization order will have the right to appeal their new assessment. 

With this VERY LARGE INCREASE IN VALUE there will likely be some very confused and very upset property owners calling and coming in.  The Scott County Assessor’s Office is prepared.  If answering questions, our standard office answer will be as follows:  This is a new classification of property in Iowa (only since 2015), and this is the very first year the IDOR has equalized this class of property, and recent sales are showing that rental properties in Scott Co are selling on average for WAY more than we currently have them assessed.  If you disagree, you can appeal your assessment increase.   We will then explain the appeal process, and how to do it, and how they can run their own sales comps, and look at similar assessments for equity, etc. 

The County Auditor will be posing a public notice in the local newspaper(s) this week or next, and will then also be sending individual equalization assessment adjustment notices to all MR & D/C property owners on or before next Tuesday Oct 8th, a total of about 325 property owners in Scott County. 

The County Assessor’s Office is still in the process of protesting this +21% MR Equalization order with the IDOR, and there is a very, very small chance that it could still be removed or reduced before year end, but, in the meantime, we are required by law to apply the equalization order, mail new assessment notices to effected property owners, and start prepping for a Fall Board of Review session.   The good news, if any, is that there are only about 325 total MR & D/C parcels affected, or about 1% of the all properties in Scott County and less than 2% of total assessed value.  During the appeal process, property owners can ONLY protest the equalization order increase in value and can ONLY request to have it reduced or removed, and will still have to prove why this new assessed value is truly not representative of current fair market value.  By law, the during equalization sessions, BOR is not allowed to remove any more value than what was added due to the order increase.    

In the spring of 2019, the Scott County Assessor’s Office adjusted MR values in different parts of the county by different percentages as needed.  See attached sheet for total value adjustments from 2018 to the newly equalized values for these types properties in each city.  Overall, the County Assessor increased MR values in Scott Co an average 11.5% in the spring of 2019.   The main point being that the County Assessor did what he felt was needed, and allocated MR value adjustments around Scott Co, market by market, as data indicated.  We feel we did our job.  The neighboring and similar jurisdiction, Davenport Assessor’s Office reported they also increased Davenport, Iowa MR property values by an average of 11% for 2019.  Therefore, Scott County feels our MR assessment increases were in line with the neighboring assessing jurisdiction are therefore justified.  But, based on market sales, the IDOR feels we need to add more value to MR properties for 2019, and an equalization order was given. 

A summary report prepared by the assessor’s office can be found here.

If there is interest in learning more about this valuation increase, we are happy to facilitate a meeting with the assessor’s office. Just let us know in the comments section below.

(Updated) City conduct public hearing in support of Wellspire, LLC senior living project

(Updated) City conduct public hearing in support of Wellspire, LLC senior living project

(Updated 09-27-19) The Riverdale City Council did not review the conduit bond issue at its September 24th meeting (as originally planned), but will be conducting a public hearing on October 8th at 7pm instead.

That hearing will be held in advance of final consideration of a resolution authorizing the issuance of a $10,000,000 conduit bond to assist in the financing of Wellspire, LLC’s senior living facility to be located at Middle Road and 53rd Street in Bettendorf. More details on the bond under consideration and what it means to the City can be found in the article, below.

(Original Story) At its last meeting (on August 27, 2019), the Riverdale City Council unanimously approved entering into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Wellspire, LLC, a venture co-owned by Genesis Health Systems and WesleyLife. The agreement will allow Wellspire to utilize the city’s ability to issue “conduit” bonds totaling $10,000,000 to help finance a senior living facility to be located at Middle Road and 53rd Street in Bettendorf.

A formal announcement for the project, known as The Summit, was announced this past summer. The community will have over 100 independent living units as well as limited assisted and memory care units. There will also be twenty short-term, rehab suites and twenty medical suites at the facility. The total estimated cost of the project is in excess of $40,000,000.

The Council action, in the form of a resolution (Resolution 2019-29), authorized the mayor to execute the MOA with Wellspire, LLC on behalf of the City of Riverdale. The Council also authorized the mayor and city staff to take any other actions necessary to carry out the intent and purpose of the MOA, although the final decision whether to issue the bonds and the final amount of the issuance will be dependent upon further Council action (another vote).

The City Council will meet on September 24 at 7pm for a public hearing on this matter. Formal notice will be posted to the website, the City’s social media accounts, in the newspaper and on the bulletin board for such notices at City Hall.


What is a “Conduit Bond”?

Cities in Iowa are authorized by Chapter 419 of the State Code to issue bonds and loan the proceeds to a borrow to assist the borrower in financing projects like the Wellspire senior living community planned for Bettendorf.  Bonds issued under this chapter are common methods of obtaining federally tax-exempt financing for non-profit corporations engaged in projects like this.

A city can issue conduit bonds for facilities located within the city limits and anywhere within eight miles of the boundary of the city – that’s why Riverdale can issue bonds for a project in Bettendorf.

These bonds are referred to as “conduit bonds” because the city acts as a conduit between the purchasers of the bonds and the borrower. These bonds are typically purchased by institutional investors (e.g. banks) and the proceeds of those bond sales are loaned to the borrower according to a loan agreement in which the borrower (Wellspire) agrees to repay the bonds.

Once the bonds are issued by the city, the city steps out of the picture and the repayments are made directly by the borrower to the bond purchasers. The city has no accoutning or processing responsibilities.


Does issuing conduit bonds have an effect on the City’s bonding capacity?

The short answer is “no.” These bonds do not count against the City’s contintutional debt limit. As specified in the State Code (#419.3), these bonds would never constitute an indebtedness of the city and would not make the city liable for repayment in the case of default.

The only affect issuing the conduit bonds has on the City’s bonding capacity is in the year in which the bonds are issued. For example, if we issue the maximum amount as a conduit bond, we won’t be able to issue any more bonds for the rest of the calendar year. After December 31st, though, we are able to issue bonds again.


How big can a conduit bond be?

Cities are capped at $10,000,000 per year in conduit bond capacity each calendar year. The City Council will be considering this amount at the public hearing on September 24.


Where can you find more information?

Here is a link to the resolution passed by the Council at our August 27, 2019 meeting. It includes lots of back-up documentation and a fairly straight-forward explainer as to how conduit bonds work and what issuing those bonds would mean to the City. Please read it and come informed to the public hearing on September 24th.

Photos show progress on Madison Drive and site grading (and a sold lot!!) in Woods Estates

Photos show progress on Madison Drive and site grading (and a sold lot!!) in Woods Estates

Check out these recent photos showing progress on Phase I of the Woods Estates of Riverdale project by Woods Construction/Development. Madison Drive is now connected to State Street, work on completing the drainage system connecting the detention basins to the storm water system is underway and grading work is continuing on the lots that will be sold in Phase I – approximately 13 homes in the new development that should see some dirt work and construction yet this year (depending on weather).

Woods Estates Progress Reports from the City’s engineering consultants

Woods Estates Progress Reports from the City’s engineering consultants

Field reports from the City of Riverdale’s consulting engineers can be found here. Field reports are filed by MSA Professional Services and the City of Bettendorf’s Public Works/Roads Department.

You can help determine the future of the Quad Cities!

You can help determine the future of the Quad Cities!

Riverdale residents are encouraged to participate in the region’s long-range transportation plan by taking a survey administered by the Bi-State Regional Commission. 

According to a press release from Bi-State, every five years, the commission revisits the Quad Cities Area Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) to make adjustments based on changing conditions.  The 2050 plan update process will examine changes to the metro area multi-modal transportation system and in the characteristics of the community over the last five years.

As a metro area over 300,000 people, what will the population be by 2050?  Based on several scenarios, the area could grow to nearly 373,000, or only marginally to 309,000.  Future growth will depend on development policies, and the state of the economy, housing choices, and mobility options available.  Will Quad Citizens be more mobile? Alternatively, will we take shorter trips to work, neighborhood shops, and services?  What will it cost to maintain over 2,000 miles of roads in our metro area?  Will our economy continue to focus on logistics, food production, manufacturing, financial-insurance services, and healthcare?  Or something new?  Are our citizens looking for healthy alternatives to commute and travel?

To check the pulse of our citizens, Bi-State Regional Commission is conducting an online survey about the Quad Cities transportation – roads, transit buses, trails, sidewalks, and air and water travel.  The survey will ask public opinion on area congestion, mobility demands, and general ease of getting around. 

You can take the survey by clicking on the button below.

The survey will be open until October 25, 2019.  The survey will be the first of a number of opportunities to provide feedback on the Quad Cities area transportation system and plan for 2050.

Bi-State’s Quad Cities MPO Transportation Policy and Technical Committees will guide plan development.  These committees include local elected and transit board officials, and technical staff in the Quad Cities metro area. 

Planning & Zoning Commission to meet October 18, 2018

Planning & Zoning Commission to meet October 18, 2018

A meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission of the City of Riverdale has been called for Thursday, October 18th at 7:00 pm. The meeting will be held in the Community Room at City Hall. An official notice will appear in the Quad-City Times on Thursday, October 11th and will be posted to the City’s public notice board on the North side of City Hall.

The meeting is a public hearing and will involve reviewing the final plat for the first phase of the Woods Estates of Riverdale Subdivision, developed by Seth Woods and Woods Development.

Notices will be sent to every resident of Riverdale, per City code.

The Woods Estates Subdivision is a 94.69 acre residential subdivision located southwest of Manor Drive and northwest of State Street/US 67 and was formerly known as the Welch farm. Phase I of the subdivision covers approximately 17.7 acres and includes thirteen sign family lots and two outlets for the stormwater management detention basins which will be used for the entire subdivision.

All interested persons are invited to appear and be heard at the meeting. Interested persons are also encouraged to submit written comments on these proposals. Comments should be sent to:

Tim Long, Zoning Administrator
Riverdale City Hall
110 Manor Drive
Riverdale, IA 52722

Written comments must be received by 5pm on Thursday, October 18.

If you have any further questions, you can reach Mr. Long by calling City Hall: 563-355-2511

Grading on Woods Estates project moves on, causes concerns

Grading on Woods Estates project moves on, causes concerns

In an email received by City staff on Wednesday, developer Seth Woods announced his company’s intention to begin the next phase of grading on the Woods Estates subdivision project.  This will involve cutting through the hillside currently between the former Welch Farm property on top of the hill and the planned entrance off of State Street, across from the Arconic Davenport Works.

“The current site grading has been more or less out of sight of the general public up to now, so the contractor wanted me to give you a heads up that this will be starting soon,” read the email. The grading “will be very visible to everyone.”

Drainage from the cut-through area will be directed to a sediment trap excavated this past week by Woods Development sub-contractors. The most recent site erosion control plan provided to the City by J+M Civil Design (engineers for Woods Development) can be found by clicking here.

A diagram showing how water is predicted to flow over the updated grading of the site can be viewed by clicking here.

Citizen Concerns and Complaints

Notice from Woods Development came to City Hall the same time as some citizen complaints about current grading work, the possibility for water runoff flowing into the backyards of existing homes and the amount of dust and dirt in the air as a result of the grading activity on the job site.  City Administrator Tim Long informed the developer of the concerns in a Thursday afternoon email (on September 13) and said he will operate as an intermediary to work through the grading concerns with all parties.

Free Car Wash Program Announced

To address issues related to dust raised as a result of grading activities in the new subdivision, the City and Woods Development have agreed to purchase 100 car wash certificates at the Devils Glen Car Wash (across the street from Hy-Vee on Devils Glen Road) which can be claimed by any resident of Riverdale who feels his or her car has been covered by dust from the construction site.

Program details:

•   This program starts on Tuesday, September 18, 2018.

•   Certificates are for a standard wash (value of $6 each) and can be claimed in-person at City Hall.

•   If a resident wants additional features added to their wash, they must pay the difference in price at the car wash.

•   Residents claiming a certificate must provide their name and address at the time of the claim.

•   All claims must be made in person.

•   There is a limit of one coupon per person per day.

•   This offer is good while supplies last.