"SHSI Certificate of Recognition"
"Best on the Web"

Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
Jump to: navigation, search
Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald
ANNEXATION. According to most scholars, the LOUISIANA PURCHASE was the largest and most important annexation of land by the United States since the formation of the original thirteen colonies. The region, purchased from France in 1803, was an poorly-defined area including all of present-day Iowa and extending from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. It included the present state of Arkansas; portions of Colorado, the Dakotas, Kansas, Missouri, and Montana; most of Minnesota; and portions of Wyoming. Worried that he exceeded his constitutional rights, President Thomas Jefferson justified the purchase on the grounds of military need.

Locally, the City of Dubuque has used annexation to acquire land needed for city growth since efforts at restoration and renovation of historic buildings did not provide sufficient space and available land for development became scarce. Studies made in 1996 indicated that the city had grown an average of 150 acres annually since around 1930. While population had grown, the increase was not as fast as the acquisition of land. This led to a peak population density of 4,620 people per square mile in 1940 which declined to 2,402 in 1996. Due to divorce, an aging population, and a social trend toward larger properties a phenomenon called "urban sprawl" was been created. Dubuque city officials rejected this categorization. City Planner Laura Carstens stated, "The definition infers the growth is not planned." (1) The number of studies made prior to annexation and the steps needed to effectuate the process would support her claim. Dubuque does not fit the term.

In 1952, a tract of land containing 1,200 acres was added to the city limits by a court order of District Judge John George CHALMERS. According to City Manager Laverne SCHILTZ the annexation boosted the city's population by 2,200 people and helped the city grow in an orderly manner. The action also resulted in Dubuque County becoming qualified for the official designation of the U. S. Census Bureau as a "metropolitan area." The designation needed one city in the county having a population of at least 50,000.

The annexed area extended roughly from West 32nd (Millville Road) to Highway 20 and included Lennox Addition, Highland Park Subdivision, Park Hill area and the surrounding territory. The only objection was raised by William and Ethel Jenni who claimed their property was too rough and not suitable for city lots. The city then excluded their property. The city was immediately prepared to provide police and fire protection and within days proposed a rubbish collection schedule. Water, sewage, and street repairs would be provided when the property owners petitioned for them. (2)

In 1958 residents of Center Grove who vigorously opposed annexation formed the Center Grove Annexation Protest Committee. Their work led to rejection of the proposal in the November election with eight of the 16 city precincts, all in polling places north of 13th Street, voting "no." (3)

A special meeting of the Dubuque City Council on February 29, 1960 was scheduled to decide whether to begin another annexation program. The issue was raised when the council officially received a Chamber of Commerce Resolution pledging support for any annexation program calling it "necessary for proper long range planning for expansion and growth of the city." An important factor in annexation was whether to extend sewer and water lines outside the city limits. Requests for both had come to the council from people willing to pay for constructing the lines and who supported annexation. One such request had come from Hillcrest Builders, Inc. which planned a development along Pennsylvania Avenue. (4)

Supporters of annexation living in Center Grove formed the Center Grove Committee for Annexation prior to the February 29th meeting. It was the organization's plan to present to the Dubuque City Council a letter listing advantages of annexation. The organization was also attempting to counter a strongly worded leaflet opposing annexation. (5) Opposition also came from Key West residents. The total amount of land involved in the potential annexation was 6.5 square miles. (6)

The City Council in April, 1960 adopted a "go-slow" approach to annexation. Considerations included the costs of extending sewer and water facilities and fire protection. Mayor Peter Joseph TAKOS suggested the annexation of a region between Highway 20 on the south and W. 32nd with the west line near Asbury. Other councilmen tended to support that idea--annexation to the west only. (7) In making his suggestion, Takos added:

                      It behooves us to re-evaluate our position in the state because
                      if a city doesn't show a substantial gain (in population), it
                      shows a stunting of the business and industry.
                      If the town's going to get off its cork, it's going to have to
                      reevaluation its position at present. The greatest reason for 
                      the position that we're in is because we haven't kept up with
                      the tempo of industrial attraction of the other towns. (8)

A Supreme Court decision in 1961 offered local elected leaders encouragement. The court ruled unanimously on the validity of the Iowa annexation law. The decision rose from a case in Cedar Rapids where a group of property owners claimed the law was illegal because the Legislature that passed the law had not reapportioned itself. Mayor Takos used the decision to question those who automatically react negatively to the suggestion of annexation. (9)

                       If someone says he is dead against annexation, I 
                       would examine his motives carefully because the 
                       experience of hundreds of  cities reveals the 
                       benefits of proper annexation--better planning,
                       more orderly development and a great savings to 
                       the tax-payer.

Annexation opponents were given a surprise boost when URBAN RENEWAL became a focus of city government. Annexation opponents declared "clean up your own backyard before you make it bigger." Planning Commissioner Raymond Bergquist remarked that urban renewal would show what "we intend to do in our yard." He remarked that annexation would aid in relocating families displaced by clearance of sub-standard housing areas in the city. (10)

Faced with a broad plan for "community improvement," City Manager Gilbert D. CHAVENELLE suggested in April, 1961 that annexation be placed on hold until current studies were completed. A tentative election would be held in the fall. (11)

In November, 1961 a 60-acre tract of land northwest of the Old Timers-Asbury road intersection was added to the City of Dubuque. The annexation followed a petition filed by seven property owners. The parcel did not include the Mulgrew service station, Farm Bureau office, OLD TIMERS SUPPER CLUB and some residences on the west side of Old Timers Road, the city boundary. The area was intended as a subdivision. Although some properties bordering the road did not come into the city, the annexed area was joined to Dubuque by a 255 foot wide strip of Old Timers Road which remained a county road. (12) By 1969 the farm fields had been developed into a residential area with a commercial area that included KENNEDY MALL, the largest indoor shopping center in Iowa; two smaller shopping centers, several automobile dealerships, and a theater. When the area was annexed, it had a tax base of $478,476. Five years later, the tax base was $1.6 million. (13)

In November, 1961 among the accomplishments of the council over the previous two years, Peter Takos pointed to over 230 acres of land being annexed to the city. (14)

There was no doubt of the feelings toward annexation by the editorial board of the Telegraph-Herald. In an editorial entitled "Let's Growl" the editors suggested that housing development, municipal service extensions, urban renewal, downtown renovations, parking expansion and possibly the most important--a dynamic annexation program--were within the range of accomplishment. The paper suggested Dubuque was slower than most Iowa cities to authorize extension of city limits to accommodate suburban growth. Among the excuses were our hilly terrain and the feeling the city should not encroach on those who chose to live on the outside of town. "Expansion generates civic enthusiasm and enterprise. A growing city naturally attracts new residents and industries." (15)

In August, 1964 a request for annexation by the DUBUQUE BIBLE CHURCH which was constructing a $45,000 church at Key Drive and Pennsylvania was referred to the Planning and Zoning Commission. (16)

On December 15, 1964, Dubuque voters overwhelmingly approved, by an 8-1 majority, the annexation of approximately three square miles to the city. The area extended west from the city limits just north of 32nd Street to about half a mile east of Asbury. It went south to Pennsylvania Avenue, east to the western edge of the Key Knolls subdivision, and then south to Highway 20, and again east. (17)

On April 1, 1965, the City of Dubuque won its suit in Dubuque District Court to annex the area minus one small portion, less than half an acre. The city had contended it was not capable of extending services to that portion which contained a drive-in movie screen and land owned by the Key City Investment Company. (18) It did contend that it was possible to extend all other services and that the annexation was not started just to increase its tax revenues.

While reaffirming its policy not to extend city services to areas outside the city, city officials in July 1966 encouraged residents of the Garnet Street area to petition for annexation. The area was northeast of Central Avenue and north of the city limits. Because the area was not adjacent to the city it could not be added to the city without an election. (19)

Despite strong opposition, the city council in 1967 voted 3-2 to place a proposed annexation of Key West and Rockdale on the November 7, 1967 ballot. A week later, however, the vote was rescinded because the city staff had not referred it to the zoning commission. This had been the usual procedure. (20) The plan would have taken in six square miles of land. The idea began as a request from TABLE MOUND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, one-half mile south of the city limits, for an extension of the city's sewer lines. City Manager Chavenelle responded by proposing to extend the sewers and the city boundary. City practice had been not to extend city services into non-annexed lands. The proposal was sent to the commission where it never came up for a vote and was forgotten. (21)

In 1969 voters clearly rejected annexation proposed by city officials by a vote of 10,919 to 5,354. Opponents had included officials of the JOHN DEERE DUBUQUE WORKS and the North Dubuque Annexation Protest Group. City officials had feared a substantial portion of the property owners were attempting to annex to Sageville, an incorporated and non-taxing municipality. EXPAND's campaign had centered on the annexation providing tax relief and the development of a rich suburb close to the financially challenged city. (22)

In October 1970 residents living south of Dubuque attempted to begin legal action to fight proposed annexation. The issue was the ownership of Rockdale Road which the City of Dubuque wanted to annex in order to make an estimated 200 acres of land along the road contiguous to the city. Residents not in the area to be annexed feared Rockdale Road would not be maintained and that the city would use the 200 acres as a way to then annex their property. Their attorney used as an argument that the residents had not given fee title, meaning "giving of all rights to the land", to the county on which the road was built. (23)

The attorney failed in a weekend attempt to restrain the supervisors. In a unanimous decision, they approved the annexation. Acting on the supervisors' decision, the Dubuque City Council, on a 4-1 vote, approved the annexation of 193 acres south of the city. Efforts by the Dubuque Cheese Factory to be included in annexation were not approved, but City Manager Chavenelle believed its annexation would be approved as soon as needed paperwork was finished. (24)

Annexation led to a split vote by the Dubuque City Council in July, 1973 as it authorized the planning and zoning commission to petition the county for voluntary annexation of parts of three roads to the north of the city limits. The annexation would clear the way for a voluntary annexation of eleven acres--an action which had the support of the planning commission. To make the annexation of the property legal--contiguous to the city--the county had to permit the city to claim portions of Hogrefe and Burden avenues and Sheridan Road. The planning commission received permission to pursue that with the county by a 3-2 vote. (25)

The council, however, was split on the general question of annexation. Council Wayne MOLDENHAUER asked that the annexation be postponed until the planning commission presented an overall plan. Moldenhauer believed the city should follow the Gruen report which supported the city picking up small parcels of land in all directions rather than large tracts reaching into the county. Proponents of the opportunity presented claimed that the land would undoubtedly be part of any long-range annexation plan. Adding to the tax base of the city would present a stronger case for further "rounding" of the city boundaries. Mayor Joseph BITTER joined Walter A. PREGLER and Allan THOMS in authorizing the petition, but added his opinion that the city's annexation policy was little more than "getting every piece of property we can get." Councilman C. Robert JUSTMANN added,"How much longer are we going to continue this inexorable march westward?" (26)

In December, 1973 city officials announced they planned to take to the voters a plan to annex nearly seven square miles, 40% of the city's present size. Key West and Rockdale to the south, the Cedar Cross Road area to the southwest, Stone Hill area and Highway 52 between 32nd Street and the South John Deere Road would be included. FLEXSTEEL INDUSTRIES, INC. would come in, but the John Deere Dubuque Works would not. This would be the first annexation vote since the rejection in 1969 and if approved would be the first successful involuntary proposition since 1,380 acres were added to the city in 1964. (27)

In 1974 city officials announced that although the city's population had grown moderately, its size, through annexation has grown by more than one-third. (28) In September, 1974 the Planning and Zoning Commission Recommended the voluntary annexation of "Waechter Place," a tract of land at the northeast corner of Wacker Drive and Dodge Street. Otto Waechter, the former owner, had fought annexation when a large parcel of west-end land was joined to the city in 1964.

Pollution found in CATFISH CREEK was traced in 1975 to defective residential and business septic tanks. These were found mainly near Key West. The solution proposed on September 2, 1975 was that "annex and hook up." The council agreed to let the residents seek voluntary annexation after which they could connect to the city sewers. The dominant view of the council was that the city did not wish to extend the sewer system to those not in the city. If voluntary annexation was refused, the property owners would have to suffer the consequences forced by county health standards. (29)

Kopper-Powers Ford in August, 1975 asked permission from the Dubuque City Council to hook into a city sanitary sewer so its sewage would not leak into Catfish Creek. Dave Powers representing the company, said he was unaware of the leak before tests were done. The company would be willing to construct a new septic drainage field, but it might not correct the problem given the poor soil conditions. Under new rules, the city allowed rural properties to hook into city services if annexation was not possible, provided that the property owners paid 1.5 times the service rates charged to those in the city and agreed to be annexed when possible. Powers agreed to both requirements. (30)

City Development Planner Dan Dittemore in November, 1975 stated that new housing in the city had increased by 10% since 1970 while surrounding areas had grown by 14%. This, he suggested, would lead to pockets of development growing in size and density difficult for the county to service. (31) Ensuring that future annexation plans proceeded with as few problems as possible, the Dubuque Planning and Zoning Commission in September, 1975 agreed to consider a comprehensive plan for subdivisions lying outside the city but which might someday be annexed. The Commission approved the continued development in the Twin Ridge subdivision in Key West near Highway 61 south. Construction of streets in the subdivision complied with Dubuque specifications for curb, gutter and drainage provisions. If a subdivision did not meet city standards and was annexed, property owners would be assessed part of the cost of bringing streets up to city standards. It was expected that the City Council and the Board of Supervisors would need to work together to make any policy work. (32)

In January, 1976 a subdivision of 171 townhouses in a $5.5 million development on Brunskill Road south of CENTER GROVE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH was announced. The proposed subdivision would occupy 21 acres making it the largest townhouse subdivision of its time. City officials believed the developer should pay for the extension of a water main to the property. The CENTER GROVE sanitary sewer main which collected domestic waste from Dubuque's west side ran across the developer's property. The city, however felt the developer was not entitled to its use unless he agreed to voluntary annexation. The question of whether the city had jurisdiction over subdivision plans within two miles of its border's was also asked. The city believed it had the power, while the developer believed the supervisor's had the final authority. (33)

City plans to annex six-square mile area were presented at a hearing on September 16, 1976 at Five Flags Theater. The meeting turned out to be the longest on a public issue in Dubuque since a similar six hour meeting in 1967 when URBAN RENEWAL was discussed. Dubuque County Sanitarian David Kunkel reported finding 17 "malfunctioning" septic tanks in two of the annex areas--Rockdale-Manson Road and Crescent Ridge. City budget meeting notes in the spring when police officials requested more policemen and statements from Deere and Company that payroll had leveled off locally with no major new hiring anticipated were used by opponents. (34)

Prior to a vote on the annexation, a Telegraph-Herald plebiscite found a majority of its participants opposed the annexation. Although not a scientific measurement of the entire city population, the results of 161 phone calls found 57.1% opposed the proposal, 35.4% favored annexation, and 7.5% offered opinions that could not be determined as either positive or negative. (35)

Based upon the hearing in September and the results of the plebiscite, the vote in 1976 on annexation came as a surprise. City voters approved the proposal by a 68.5% margin. City voters approved the measure by 76.1% Voters in the annexation area to the north and west and south of the city limits rejected the measure by 94.8%. Absentee voters were pro-annexation. The total vote was 7,641 to 3,474. As a result, the size of Dubuque was increased by one-third and the city population grew by 2,000. Property in the annexed area was valued for tax purposes at $18.9 million which as the then-current city rate would produce about $210,000 annually. Proponents of annexation included Citizens for Annexation, League of Women Voters, DUBUQUE AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE and the JAYCEES. (36)

The annexation vote led to a legal challenge from residents of Barony Woods and Sherwood Park. This suit successfully challenged the referendum as it applied to them in a case settled by the Iowa Supreme Court in April, 1979. The Supreme Court withdrew the two subdivisions in 1979, but approved the annexation of the remaining 5.4 square miles. (37) This land was located south of Dubuque on either side of US 61, west of the city on either side of US 20 and north of the city on either side of US 52. This brought the city population to 62,309.

The battle over the 1976 annexation continued. The "Neumeister Case" decided on May 1, 1979 was filed in the fall of 1977. The petitioners claimed that the city's representative on the City Development Committee was ineligible to serve because of his previous position as chairman of the pro-annexation Dubuque Planning and Zoning Commission. This argument was rejected along with another involving inadequate representation on the city development committee. (38)

In 1980 city attorneys for Dubuque charged that neither the Dubuque County District Court nor the Iowa Supreme Court had the power to decide a case that removed Barony Woods and Sherwood Park from an annexation in 1979. Proceedings were begun by the city's planning and zoning commission at the end of April, 1979 to begin another involuntary annexation of Barony Woods and Sherwood Park. (39)

As a result of the annexation fight, Citizens Against Annexation became the major contributor to the Committee for Civic Responsibility, the group which fought for a different form of city government. The Citizens Against Annexation contributed $300 of the $427 spent on advertising. Opponents to the change in government, a group called Citizens for Responsible Government, outspent the proponents by a 4-1 ratio. Voters on June 6, 1979 changed the form of city government by dividing the city into wards. (40)

In September, 1980 the City Development Board for the State of Iowa rejected Sageville's attempt to annex 1.5 acres on its southern border. The Board had rejected a similar request of Sageville in 1970 for 18 acres for the community's 340 residents. Dubuque's objections centered on the beliefs that both annexations might block Dubuque's development plans and that Sageville did not provide substantial city services "serving as little more than a tax haven for its residents." (41)

In 1991 the Dubuque City Council appeared willing to attempt the annexation of the MINES OF SPAIN STATE RECREATIONAL AREA to block the Department of Natural Resources from allowing gun-hunting in the 1,300-acre nature area. Questions whether the city could win a long legal battle with the state and whether the voters would actually approve annexation were never answered as the city dropped the potential action. City officials, according to the editorial board of the Telegraph Herald, used the threat to make state bureaucrats "pause before they again attempt to force an unwanted program on a community." (42)

In 1994 the city completed a development needs study that identified thirty-eight potential growth areas totaling 4,000 acres--within and beyond the city limits. In 1997 the City of Dubuque had 900 acres of industrial land which was expected to attract 10,000 new residents to Dubuque in the next twenty years. These people needed places to live, shop and do business. At the time, staff and consultants from the Planning Services Department were finalizing the results of a 20-month old annexation study which identified the principal areas of future residential and commercial development. Mayor Terry DUGGAN made it clear that the city was not going to buy land to develop subdivisions and office buildings. Once the public sector was involved, he maintained, incentives for private development would be removed. City Planning officials indicated that the annexation study being finalized could be used to guide developers as to where growth would occur. (43)

Providing services to areas previously annexed was the topic of a Telegraph Herald article in 1996. Providing the promised treet and sewer services to areas annexed in the late 1970s had taken a great deal of time--mainly due to the cost. City records indicated 161 homes would not have access to city sewers by the end of fiscal year 1997 and 58 were expected to get access by 2001. The city had done a much better job of providing fire and police protection and garbage collection. In 1996 new subdivisions' roads were required to meet city development regulations for width, sidewalks, curbs and gutters. (44)

In 1993 the Telegraph Herald reported on residents living along Olympic Heights Road. Despite paying an estimated $500,000 in city property taxes, the residents for fourteen years had not been connected to city water or sewage, curbs and gutters, or what they considered road maintenance or fire protection. City officials maintained they had promised to provide water and sewer if people came to them with septic tank problems or were ready for improvements. One resident called annexation "a tax grab." (45)

The City of Dubuque grew by nearly 600 acres on the evening of February 3, 1997. On that evening, the city council approved the annexation requests of Mason City, Iowa developer Wendell Corey for his Asbury Plaza development near the NORTHWEST ARTERIAL and Asbury Road. The council also approved the annexation of three parcels destined for development as INDUSTRIAL PARKS. These included 122 acres at Lake Eleanor Road and US 61/151, 210-acre Dubuque County Farm on Seippel Road, and 155 acres near Old Highway Road and Middle Road. (46)

Middle Road study. Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald
In 1998 an annexation study reviewed fourteen areas. A voluntary annexation request for all or parts of a studied area could be made if owners of at least 80% of the property targeted for annexation would be needed.

In January, 1998 an estimated 20 people owning property along part of U. S. 20 received letters asking if they would like to be annexed into Dubuque. City staff recommended the council annex the land to connect the industrial park land and the Dubuque Metropolitan Sanitary Landfill with the city limits. Representatives of Yaggy-Colby Associates who completed the annexation analysis felt the city would receive a good response to the inquiry. (47) Their prediction was correct. The annexation along Highway 20 occurred in March 1999 with the city council voting 7-0 to approve the action. Only several landowners comprising about 10% of the acreage annexed had been opposed. (48)

A modification to the rules affecting homeowners annexed to the city was made in 1999. Several owners claimed their properties were identified as land the state would acquire for an intersection of US 20 and the Northwest Arterial. As a result, they would be using city sewage services for only a short time. The modification allowed these homeowners a 15 year amnesty from connecting to the Dubuque sewer system if they proved their case to the city manager. (49)

A proposal to open three lots for residential development of nearly 50 single-family homes with ten acres set aside for apartment buildings was brought to the city council in February, 1999. The site was northwest of the intersection of Peru Road and Kennedy Court and north of the site the same developer received city permission in December 1998 to build a 121-acre mobile home park. A proposed roadway, Tanzanite Drive, would connect between the NORTHWEST ARTERIAL and Peru Road. (50) The same month, William and Janet Siegert, farmers and owners of 179 acres between the city limits and the landfill, agreed to allow their land to be annexed if, at the same time, it was zoned for commercial use. The part south of U. S. 20--152 acres--was three times the size of KENNEDY MALL. (51)

Portzen annexation. Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald
In September, 1999, the City of Dubuque was unable to convince the City Development Board of the Iowa Department of Economic Development to annex 362 acres of land along Heacock Road. The land was annexed by Asbury despite the fact that it would need to provide pumps to provide sewer service when development occurred. (52)

On the positive side, the city council the same month approved an annexation that added 114 acres of commercial land and 141 acres of residential property on the far-west side of the city. Portzen Construction combined land purchased from several sources. All of the parcel lay between US 20 and English Mill Road between Barring Lakes subdivision and Cousins Road. A roadway serving the area would connect the highway at the northern and southern sides of the property. If the Iowa Department of Transportation terminated connections to US 20, there would still be a path of access. Residential lots would be east and southeast of the commercial property which would become the site of the company headquarters. (53)

In 2003 City Manager Michael VAN MILLIGEN suggested that the City of Dubuque could add at least $1 million to its valuation if it annexed 700 acres between Asbury's city limits and Middle, Seippel, Asbury, Chavenelle and Heacock Roads. In preparing for growth of its western border, Dubuque had constructed a $1.38 million water tank. (54)

2006 study. Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald
The 2004 annexation of the 700 acres was challenged by the City of Asbury which questioned Dubuque's methods in obtaining property owner approval. The state's City Development Board decision allowed Dubuque to annex the land on the condition that "every reasonable effort" by made to allow Asbury several parcels of land. A Dubuque County District court in April, 2005 reversed that decision. The district court agreed with Asbury that Dubuque officials had unfairly persuaded property owners by placing them in a position of either agreeing to the annexation and receiving financial benefits or being denied the money by refusing. (55)

In the fall of 2006 the Iowa Supreme Court overturned the lower court ruling, sided with Dubuque, and approved of the annexation. (56) Although some land owners opposed the change, state law did not allow "islands" of non-annexed property. (57) In addition, four-fifths of the members of the City Development Board, an entity within the Iowa Economic Development Growth Management division, was required to approve an 80/20 (pro/con) annexation. A 100% voluntary annexation only required a majority vote of the five-member board. (58) The annexation had been approved by 93% of the property owners. (59)

Under Iowa law, a city in 2004 could review plats for subdivisions within two miles of its boundaries. The Fringe Area Policy Agreement proposed in early April 2005 between the City of Dubuque and Dubuque County was designed to guide county and city officials on land development within the two-mile fringe around Dubuque and was intended to promote orderly growth and development. The agreement was written by the Joint City/County Planning Committee made up of City of Dubuque and Dubuque County officials. In April, 2004 the board of supervisors tabled the proposal for a second time. The reason given was to give Asbury and Sageville time to review the document. (60) On April 28, 2005 the Dubuque County Board of Supervisors unanimously rejected the proposed agreement. The supervisors stated that among their reasons was that small municipalities had no input into the original writing of the document. (61)

In 2006 an annexation study, the first since 1998, was commissioned at a cost of $24,500 from Bob Veenstra, of Veenstra and Kinim, Inc. of West Des Moines. The study did not make actual recommendations. The study involved 23,000 acres of land primarily south and west of the city limits. The study divided the land into 23 speculative areas and graded areas based on level of development, costs to provide city services and location. To the north, the study involved Barony Woods and Deer Valley subdivisions as well as an area bracketed by Peru and John Deere roads and south of the JOHN DEERE DUBUQUE WORKS. To the south and southwest, the study focused on four sections from Key West to Barrington Lakes and north of Oakland Farms Road. It looked at where areas were ranked to determine which appeared to be more favorable or less favorable for annexation consideration. (62)

Dubuque's plan to annex about 640 acres west of Dubuque was unanimously approved by the City Development Board in December, 2008. The board also approved the joint motion filed by Dubuque and Asbury to allow Dubuque to delete the Sandwedge Subdivision property owners from the Dubuque annexation territory and allow them to be annexed to Asbury. (63)

The Dubuque City Council voted 7-0 to approve a pre-annexation agreement with TRUCK COUNTRY in September, 2013. The company would construct a temporary sanitary sewer lateral to the property paying 50% of the construction costs or $20,000, whichever was less. The company would also grant the city a permanent 50'x 50' easement for a future lift station and petition the city manager to connect to Dubuque's water system. If the connection to the water system was approved by the council, the company would pay 1.5 times the normal rate for service. If the approval was denied, the company would wait to connect until the annexation was complete. (64) The approval of the 16 acre annexation came in January, 2014.

With the pending annexation in 2013 of the HILLCREST FAMILY SERVICES rehabilitation facility at 13034 Seippel Road, the DUBUQUE POLICE DEPARTMENT stood to inherit the calls handled by the county sheriff's office. Between July 2012 and June 2013 there were 266 calls to the facility with 35% for juvenile runaways and 12% for adult runaways. The facility was annexed so that it could add a sprinkler system to city water lines. (65)

Twin Ridge Subdivision. Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald
Early in November, 2015 the City of Dubuque purchased Twin Ridge Water Inc., the water and sewer provider for Twin Ridge subdivision in the anticipation of annexation. If enough residents did not agree to be annexed, they would be forced by city policy to pay 1.5 times the city's utility rate beginning in April, 2016 when the Twin Ridge system would be connected to Dubuque's. Concern about "bringing the roads up to city standards" mentioned in a Telegraph Herald article of the time did not take into account the previously mentioned plan of the developer to install roads meeting city standards.

Residents then served by the Key West Department questioned whether the response time by fire and police services would diminish. Tax rates per $1,000 of taxable value increased from $26.18 to $33.02. State law allowed the city to annex up to 20% of the subdivision without property owners' consent to develop more uniform boundaries and avoid creating "an island." With the purchase of Twin Ridge Water, the city owned an estimated 35% of the subdivision's total acreage. City officials said in November that there was no timeline for annexing the subdivision. (66)

In November, 2015, the city council voted unanimously to approve an agreement with Derby Grange LLC for the development of a 120-unit subdivision at the northwest corner of Kennedy and Derby Grange roads. The city was to provide a $241,500 tax rebate to the developer to cover costs of extending fiber-optic conduit throughout the subdivision in return for broadening the city's tax base. Increasing property tax collections created from rising property values would be set aside to construct a park, improve roads, extend city utilities and support affordable-housing programs throughout the city. The agreement anticipated the subdivision would be annexed into the city. (67) The public hearing on the voluntary annexation of Rustic Point, approximately fifty-six acres, was held on March 20, 2017.

ALLIANT ENERGY CORPORATION proposed that the city annex 21 acres near the Dubuque Industrial Center West in 2016 to facilitate a lease for a new SOLAR ENERGY site. The council approved the request 7-0. The solar panels would be able to generate enough power for 560 homes. (68)

In November, 2016 the announcement was made that an arrangement to purchase Central Iowa Water Association (CIWA) was "close." Council members voted 6-1 to approve amendments to the city's housing tax districts along North Cascade Road and English Mill roads to allow the purchase of an existing water system in the area of Barrington Lakes which had sold its water system to CIWA in 2014; Vernon; and English Ridge subdivisions. The city and CIWA had argued over territory since 2014 when Dubuque tried to expand its water infrastructure west of the city limits to supply English Mill Road residents and support development along the Southwest Arterial. CIWA claimed the city's project infringed on its service area. (69)

In 2017 Peosta City officials announced that they would be writing a letter to the Dubuque City Council. In the letter, Peosta officials hoped that since their city's growth and commercial plan had been approved first that Dubuque would respect it in its plans for annexation. Dubuque's future planning indicated a boundary within a half-mile of Peosta's current city limits. Peosta officials were also considering visits with landowners to see if they would commit to potential annexation. Neither Dubuque nor Peosta were then considering involuntary annexation of any land. (70)

In March, 2019 council members voted 6-0 to rezone and then annex a 28.5-acre plot of agricultural land near the SOUTHWEST ARTERIAL. The parcel was north of the Eagle Ridge housing subdivision and west of English Mill Road. (71)

Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald
In May 2019, the developer of 107 acres at the intersection of Elmwood and Silver Oaks drives east of U. S. 61 and 151 asked that the land be rezoned to residential and annexed into the city of Dubuque. The Silver Oaks Subdivision at the time of the request included 15 platted lots and the rest of the land undeveloped. Groundwork for further development was established in 2015 when city utilities were extended to the DUBUQUE REGIONAL AIRPORT. (72) The proposal was accepted on a vote of 7-0 in June, 2019.

Finding the approvals of voluntary annexation agreements of individual residents or developments is dependent upon study of council minutes.



1. "By Leaps and Boundaries," Telegraph Herald, September 16, 1996, p. 1

2. "Annexation Given Final OK," Telegraph-Herald, February 8, 1952, p. 1

3. "Annexation, Jail Issue Out, Telegraph-Herald, November 5, 1958, p. 1

4. Ibid.

5. "Center Grove Group Forms for Annexation," Telegraph-Herald, February 29, 1960, p. 1

6. Shively, Neil, "Center Grove, Key West Groups Oppose Annexation," Telegraph-Herald, March 1, 1960 p. !

7. "City Delays Annexation Action Again," Telegraph-Herald, April 19, 1960, p. 3

8. "Our Population Gain," (editorial), Telegraph Herald, May 28, 1960, p. 6

9. Shively, Neil, "Mayor Asks Realistic Approach to Problem," Telegraph-Herald, March 12, 1961, p. 15

10. Shively, Niel, "Officials Agree on Dubuque Facelift," Telegraph-Herald, May 11, 1961, p. 1A

11. "Broad City Plan Told," Telegraph-Herald, April 17, 1961, p. 11

12. "City Annexes 60-Acre Tract," Telegraph-Herald, November 24, 1961, p. 1

13. McDougal, Tom, "Is Dubuque's Plan Small Potatoes," Telegraph-Herald, August 22, 1969, p. 3

14. 'Giant Strides' Made by City, Takos Claims," Telegraph-Herald, October 31, 1961, p. 2

15. "Let's Growl," Telegraph-Herald, January 2, 1962, p. 3

16. "Council Sets Hearing on West 32nd St. Sewer," Telegraph-Herald, August 4, 1964, p. 3

17. "Dubuque Annexation Wins 8-1 Majority," Telegraph-Herald, December 16, 1964, p. 1

18. "Dubuque Wins Annexing Suit," Telegraph-Herald, April 2, 1965, p. 1

19. "Dubuque Won't Extend Services Outside City," Telegraph-Herald, July 6, 1966, p. 13

20. McDougall, Tom, "Council Delays Annexation Vote," Telegraph-Herald, October 2, 1967, p. 11

21. McDougal

22. Bulkley, John, "Emphatic 'No' Given Proposal to Annex," Telegraph-Herald, October 7, 1969, p. 1

23. Bulkley, John, "Annexation Foes Plan Injunction," Telegraph-Herald, October 9, 1970, p. 1

24. "City Council OKs Rockdale Annexation," Telegraph-Herald, October 13, 1970, p. 6

25. "Divergent Views on Annexation Policy Aired," Telegraph-Herald, July 31, 1973, p. 7

26. Ibid.

27. Fyten, David, "Annexation Plan May Go to Voters Next Year," Telegraph-Herald, December 6, 1973, p. 10

28. Fyten, David, "City Job Slots Rise 75 Per Cent Since 1960," Telegraph-Herald, May 6, 1974, p. 1

29. Griffin, Suzanne, "Annexation is Council's Catfish Creek Solution," Telegraph-Herald, September 3, 1975, p. 27

30. Fyten, David, "Company to Ask to Hook Into City's Sewers," Telegraph-Herald, August 8, 1975, p. 2

31. Griffin, Suzanne, "City-County May Be Saturday," Telegraph-Herald, November 11, 1975, p. 7

32. Griffin, Suzanne,"Planning Unit to Consider Over-All Subdivision Plan," Telegraph-Herald, September 18, 1975, p. 4

33. Knee, Bill, "Border Subdivision Locks Horns with City on Zoning, Utilities," Telegraph Herald, January 18, 1976, p. 1

34. Bulkley, John, "Annex Plan Blasted in Marathon Hearing," Telegraph Herald, September 17, 1976, p. 3

35. "TH Plebiscite," Telegraph-Herald, December 26, 1976, p. 9

36. Bulkley, John, "Surprise: Annexation Plan Wins Big," Telegraph Herald, December 29, 1976, p. 9

37. "City Sues on Annex for Barony, Sherwood," Telegraph Herald, May 111, 1980, p. 25

38. Bulkley, John, "City Wins Annexation Decision," Telegraph Herald, May 1, 1979, p. 1

39. Ibid.

40. "Annexation Foes Big Contributors to Effort Changing City Council," Telegraph Herald, July 10, 1980, p. 13

41. "State Turns Down Sageville Annexation," Telegraph Herald, September 25, 1980, p. 14

42. "A Gutsy Move," (editorial), TelegraphSeptember 20, 1991,

43. McDermott, Brad, "City Polishes Growth Plan," Telegraph Herald, September 2, 1997, p. 1

44. Sweeney, Kathleen, "Continuing Growth Challenges City to Provide Services," Telegraph Herald, September 19, 1996, p. 1

45. Eller, Donnelle, "Annexed Area Demands Service," Telegraph Herald, November 1, 1993, p. 18

46. McDermott, Brad, "City Council Approves Four Annexation Requests, Telegraph Herald, February 4, 1997, p. 2

47. Wilkinson, Jennifer, "City to Ask 20 Property Owners to Volunteer for Annexation," Telegraph Herald, January 27, 1998, p. 1

48. Pieters, Jeffrey, "City Will Expand by 1,063 Acres," Telegraph Herald, March 16, 1999, p. 1

49. Pieters, Jeffrey, "Annexed Landowners Can Argue Their Case Against Sewer Hookups," Telegraph Herald, April 6, 1999, p. 1

50. Pieters, Jeffrey, "Landowners Plan Residential Development," Telegraph Herald, February 12, 1999, p. 25

51. Poeters. Jeffrey, "Couple Agrees to Annexation Near SOUTHWEST ARTERIAL," Telegraph Herald, February 18, 1999, p. 2

52. Berg, Renee, "State Board Approves Asbury Annexation," Telegraph Herald, September 17, 1999, p. 1

53. Pieters, Jeffrey, "Council Bans 'Loud' Brakes on Trucks," Telegraph Herald, September 8, 1999, p. 1

54. Coyle, Erin, "Official: Add Acres, Dollars," Telegraph Herald, August 25, 2003, p. 1A

55. Szeszycki, Emily, "Court Disallows Annexation," Telegraph Herald, April 28, 2005, p. 1

56. Bragg, Mary Rae,"Court OKs Annexation," Telegraph Herald, October 26, 2008, p. 1A

57. Kundert, Rob, "City of Dubuque Eyes Elbow Room," Telegraph Herald, December 13, 2006, p. 1A

58. "Peosta Passes on Annexation of Thunder Ridge," Telegraph Herald, July 22, 2015, p. 5

59. Kundert, p. 2A

60. Everly, John, "County Board Again Tables Fringe-Area Development Deal," Telegraph Herald, April 6, 2004, p. 4

61. Everly, John, "County Thwarts City Role in 'Fringe' Planning," Telegraph Herald, April 28, 2005, p. 1

62. Kundert

63. "Board Approves Annexation Plan," Telegraph Herald, December 23, 2008, p. 3

64. "Truck Company Pre-Annexation Agreement," Telegraph Herald, September 4, 2013, p. 3

65. Yager, Alicia, "Annexation Poses Law Enforcement Swap," Telegraph Herald, September 9, 2013, p. 1

66. Barton, Thomas J. "Twin Ridge Residents Feel Coerced into Annexation," Telegraph Herald, November 14, 2015, p. 5

67. "Dubuque City Council," Telegraph Herald, November 17, 2015, p. 3

68. "Dubuque City Council," Telegraph Herald, August 2, 2016, p. 3

69. Barton, Thomas J., "Dubuque Takes Steps to Acquire Neighboring Water System," Telegraph Herald, November 26, 2016, p. 1

70. Rezab, Matthew,"Peosta, Dubuque Eye Same Land," Telegraph Herald, August 26, 2017, p. 3

71. "Dubuque City Council," Telegraph Herald, March 19, 2019, p. 3

72. Fisher, Benjamin, "Developers Request Annexation," Telegraph Herald, May 16, 2019, p. 1