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West Des Moines City Council moves forward with plans for Suite Shot golf facility

The West Des Moines City Council voted to move forward with development plans to build a Suite Shot golf facility near I-35 and Grand Avenue.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — The West Des Moines City Council has voted to move forward with development plans to build a Suite Shot golf facility near I-35 and Grand Avenue. Suite Shot is a 26-acre golfing facility a project Des Moines industrial CEO Paul Cownie is in favor of the decision.

"One of the things that makes this project special is I believe, that many other real estate experts believe with me that this is the best location in the state for a golf entertainment facility," Cownie said. 

Although city council was close to having all members on board with moving forward with the plans, residents feel the council is handling this project illegally.

Attorney Gary Dickey with Dickey & Campbell Law Firm, PLC said those who live in the Glen Oaks community near the purposed development are not in favor of the plans. The biggest reason being the 150-feet poles and fencing that are set to go up.

"If you think about what a cell phone tower looks like, these are going to be very comparable to a cell phone tower. In fact, there's a cell phone tower that is constructed near Glen Oaks, which is visible from inside the community. So, we're talking about 30 to 35, essentially having cell phone towers in your backyard," Dickey said.

Dickey said residents feel their concerns aren't being heard, that reason among others, is what moved Dickey to file a lawsuit against West Des Moines City Council.

"According to the municipal code, in West Des Moines there's certain procedures that they must follow before it can even get in front of the planning and zoning commission, " Dickey said.

"And under oath, last week and a court hearing the city essentially admitted that they haven't followed those processes. So we filed a notice of appeal, which under their own code says that we're entitled to a stay or pause in consideration. even though it's in the code, the city's admitted they're not going to follow their own policies and procedures."

Dickey said his demands for the city come down to principle, citing the "rules are the rules" and he's willing to do what's necessary to ensure they are followed.

"We're asking the city to slow it down, be cautious and thoughtful about their approach. And for whatever reason, they've refused to do it at this point. And so we'll continue this litigation, and will appeal it all the way up to the Iowa supreme court if necessary," Dickey said.

As far as the result of the city council's vote today, the comprehensive plan amendments will change to regional commercial, and there will be work to approve the planned unit development that's been proposed. From there, they'll have to submit a site plan, and then the city will negotiate the terms of the site plan. 

As far as the lawsuit being filed, Dickey said he will re-file the suit Tuesday as the original suit was dismissed due to it being prematurely filled. After the new suit is established we can expect more to come.

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