Project Newsletter
To assist in answering resident questions, the Development Services Division has created a periodic e-newsletter and a page on the City's website where residents can access public documents, timelines, and frequently asked questions regarding Cargill's railyard project. You are receiving this email because of your recent interest in the project. 


Kestrel Heights Addition

Project Update | August 11, 2022

On July 7, the Cedar Rapids City Planning Commission approved the Preliminary Plat for the Kestrel Heights Addition, an 89-lot subdivision on 65-acres accessible by Otis Road SE. The City's Development Services division is providing this newsletter to share updates with the community regarding the progress of this project and to answer any frequent questions received.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team.

Project Submittals and Schedule

The Kestrel Heights project website will include developer’s submittals, staff reports and the City’s actions as they occur. The Developer is solely responsible for their design and construction schedule.

Recent Questions

Livestock at 3350 Otis Road SE

Livestock has historically resided on the property. This will continue in the southeasterly five (5) acres — which is neither being subdivided nor owned by the developer of Kestrel Heights. Though the current Zoning Ordinance does not permit agriculture in the S-RLL zoning district, the ongoing use is considered "Non-Conforming," but legally established. The use may continue to exist as the rest of the land develops. If the use ceases for a period of a year or more, it may not be re-established.

Brush Removal

According to the Developer, some undergrowth and scrub trees were removed to allow surveying to occur. The Developer’s equipment includes a regular mower, a brush mower, and a flail mower. The flail mower removes undergrowth including trees up to 2 inches diameter. Chainsaws and heavy equipment were not used. The Developer stated they did not remove any trees greater than 2 inches in diameter. The Developer also intends to remove Morrow Honeysuckle trees, an invasive species.

As City regulations apply to this activity:

  • Land surveys are not regulated by the City.
  • The Zoning Ordinance does not regulate removal for tree sizes less than 5-inches diameter.
  • Releaf Cedar Rapids, the City’s tree master plan, encourages the removal of invasive, non-native tree species.

Soils and Design

Staff reviewed the preliminary plat for consistency with Municipal Code Chapters 31 and 32. This is the conceptual stage of development. Staff review is limited to the basic layout of streets, lots, and utilities. Soils review is also at a preliminary level, to consider the Developer’s proposed plan and public comments. Staff noted the soil properties onsite are also in the general vicinity where other development has already occurred without problems. Similar development with similar soils and slopes has occurred elsewhere in the City.

The NRCS soil survey is general in nature. While it may say that certain soils are erosive based on slopes, it does not determine whether land is undevelopable. Ultimately, this will be the responsibility of the owner. Detailed design for soils including structural foundations and pavement structure are the responsibility of the owner and licensed design professional. Detailed design is the next step in land development, following the preliminary plat and occurring before final platting.  


City Contacts

Ken DeKeyser

Development Services Manager


Tyrell Gingerich

Development Services Engineer


City of Cedar Rapids Development Services
500 15th Avenue SW | 319.286.5780