Neighbors oppose indoor driving yard and restaurant Known as Suite Shots They have sued to obtain an injunction to stop the project.
The 15-member Citizens Concern for Grand Avenue Development (CCGAD) claims that West Des Moines is violating its zoning restrictions, not following its procedures properly and not allowing the group to resume the project.
The lawsuit was filed in Polk County on Monday, the day West Des Moines city council was expected to vote on the redistricting and planned unit development of the 26-acre site, located south of Grand Avenue and west of Interstate 35.
Prior to the meeting, city attorney Richard Chiszynski said he had not had the opportunity to review the lawsuit. He added that he did not know “whether we need to re-evaluate (the plan).”
Wing shots will stabilize the position, along with a hotel, four office buildings, quick-service restaurants, and sit-down restaurants. The 50,000-square-foot facility will have three floors of climate-controlled bays from which golfers can reach a driving distance of 250 yards. It will be served by a restaurant and bar, similar to Topgolf’s popular line of driving ranges.
The lawsuit says: “CCGAD members reside in close proximity to the planned Suite Shots site and property which will be adversely affected by the extent to which they enjoy driving…”.
Specifically, CCGAD argues that the 150-foot Suite Shots columns, which would maintain nets around the driving range, violate the city’s height restrictions. The city code includes a maximum height of 36 feet for buildings and 20 feet for an additional building or structure.
At a recent planning and zoning committee, Linda Schimmel, coordinator of West Des Moines’ Department of Development Services, said the city’s code isn’t about the columns, it’s just about building the structures.
CCGAD argues in its lawsuit that columns and grids fall within the city’s definition of structure under its law.
Furthermore, CCGAD believes that the request from Suite Shots to return the zone area from open space is “spot zoning”. This classification occurs when “the decision to repartition results in a single lot, or small island, of property, with restrictions on its use different from those imposed on the surrounding property,” according to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
This practice can be illegal under Iowa law, depending on a variety of factors determined by the Iowa Supreme Court. It can also be legal when there is a “reasonable basis for treating property designated as areas differently from surrounding property,” according to Iowa.
The lawsuit also alleges that West Des Moines is violating its law on appeal, which CCGAD filed last week after the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the repartition application and PUD application.
The law states that appeals result in a stay of proceedings until the issue is resolved, but the city’s attorney “indicated that the council would not halt the amendment of the Comprehensive Plan and Suite Shots PUD as required by the West Des Moines Act,” according to the lawsuit.
“We are asking the city council to refuse to amend the Universal Plan and Suite Shots PUD so that we can dismiss the lawsuit,” Attorney Gary Dickey wrote in a letter to the City Council. Otherwise, we’ll see you in court.”
Developer Paul Cownie declined to comment on the lawsuit.
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