Potential development on Loess Hills worries locals

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Developers are planning to add a residential subdivision and flatten one of Sioux City's Loess Hills in the process.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU 9) -A re-zoning proposal at Monday’s Sioux City Council meeting has some neighbors concerned about the environment. Developers are planning to add a residential subdivision and significantly change one of Sioux City’s Loess Hills in the process.

There are only two places in the world that have Loess Hills: China and Sioux City. These unique hills are loved by many in the community and can pose problems when it comes to building.

“I see it as a destruction of one of our precious resources in Iowa and Sioux City it’s taking down another Loess hill,” said Hall.

Tina Hall lives right next to where the potential new housing development would be. She says she’s concerned how it would impact her land and the dangers of building on the hill.

“With the severe graining plan that they have established, there will be a significant cut obviously to the side of my property. The Loess Hills soil, it’s highly erodible we have a lot of hills that just sluff and slide with mudslides there is continuous water drainage problems,” said Hall.

“Because of the susceptibility to erosion you need to take that into count in your planning your erosion control planning, erosion mitigation planning and that cutting of Loess soil and the runoff and structural issues that can accompany that,” said Graham Mcgaffin, the Loess Hill Project Director for Nature Conservatory of Iowa.

The project developer says he listened to those concerns at the last planning and zoning meeting. He says he plans to build housing that works in the area.

“I’m gonna do it in phases so I don’t disrupt as much soil as possible. So their concern about the whole hill being torn up is not true it’s phases. Once it is done and approved by the city then it gets seated back and it will be ready for housing that point,” said Rodney Lieber, the president of Lieber Construction.

“There are a lot of different perspectives besides mine but uniformly they are very closely aligned in terms of this development is not right for this location,” said Hall.

Neighbors say they would prefer to see individual homes go up on the loess hill rather than a large area cleared for this massive development project.

The Council voted on Monday to defer the voting for two more weeks.

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