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West Des Moines residents concerned about re-zoning around Valley Junction

Turning the areas into mixed-use and transitional zones would allow for more businesses and taller buildings in the neighborhood.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — There's a lot of history in West Des Moines, especially in Valley Junction, and the city is considering a proposal that could bring some major changes to that. Some residents are concerned that those changes might not be exactly what the city expects.

Nick Waage has lived in West Des Moines a long time—35 years, by his count. He loves the view from his backyard, but he's worried that there could be change to that view on the horizon.

"I've got a business behind me. They're quiet. But that could have gone south a long time ago if someone would have decided to put in a restaurant and I'm having to listen to bar traffic at 10 o'clock at night," Waage said.

Why? A plan to revitalize West Des Moines could re-zone much of the neighborhood around Valley Junction into mixed-use and transitional zones. That would open the door to allowing additional businesses to start in the area, as well as taller buildings—up to six stories high south of Railroad Ave.

"We had that long history of being back even to the 1900s of people being near, and I'd like to kind of see it not be destroyed by businesses," said Ellen Rodish, another West Des Moines resident.

RELATED: Knoxville residents worry for future of Ken Locke Stadium

The project is going to be a long-term one; the city will be working on a more detailed action plan this upcoming August through November. Rodish hopes that plan keeps the neighborhood's history and feel safe for the future.

"What's going to happen in the future? And to kind of protect us from being a business district, keep us more residential, keep the housing market down here good," she said.

The next meeting of the Historic West Des Moines steering committee, which is discussing all of these changes, is set for June 1 at 4:30 p.m. in the West Des Moines human services building.

RELATED: West Des Moines City Council approves design guidelines for Valley Junction mixed-use commercial space

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