The Pella City Council held a public hearing and approved its first reading to rezone property in order for Lely North America, Inc. to construct a new manufacturing facility in Pella.

Approximately 64.82 acres of property near the southeast corner of Highway 163 and 250th Place will be rezoned from Agricultural to Heavy Industrial after the final reading. The city’s Comprehensive Plan identifies the property as a preferred, long-term growth area. Benefits of rezoning the area include easy access to Highway 163 and minimal environmental considerations.

The company is a world leader in robotic milking systems and plans to construct a new North American headquarters. The facility will be approximately 150,000 square feet and is estimated to cost $16 million. The facility will contain state-of-the-art manufacturing and assembly, professional office space and training facilities for employees and distribution partners.

The city believes the facility aligns with a key strategic goal of the plan, which is economic development. City staff also believes the project has the potential to add quality jobs to the community and strengthen the city’s local tax base.

“Lely has changed the face of one of the most labor-intensive daily activities of farming into something that is profitable and sustainable,” wrote former property owners Doug and Carol DeJong in a letter to the city. “It is our sincere wish that zoning laws be changed … We believe it is the right choice for the future growth of Pella and the farming community.”