Council Bluffs has taken the first step to partner with the local preservation society and draw up a plan for the Loess Hills of western Iowa. Councilman Matt Walsh says the glaciers ground up rocks, left heaps of sand and the hills, which are easily damaged by development. Walsh says the very sand that makes up the Loess Hills is a commodity in demand across parts of Iowa that are low and swampy.Both sides of the Missouri River in that region are flat and near the water table. Builders have excavated sand for “fill,” digging up a lot of the hills for development. Walsh admits protecting the bluffs will impose some controls on how landowners can use their property.An overlay zone would define what property owners can and can’t do, and some won’t like it. But Walsh adds some people bought land in the bluffs because they want it kept in its natural condition, and they may be able to get some grant money for doing that. He says usage plans for five areas of the Loess Hills bluffland should be written, reviewed and ready to put in place before 2003.
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