Recent stories about Hubbell Realty Co.'s proposed Gray's Station development have drawn some interesting responses, none more so than the perspectives of Kevin Crowley of Iowa Realty Commercial and Tom Sacco, devoted bicycle tourist of the abandoned railroad and industrial land where the mixed-use project is planned.

For his part, Crowley has high praise for Hubbell Realty's efforts to plan out a responsible development, one that has so far run afoul of the city of Des Moines' comprehensive plan, something called an overlay district and zoning designation.

Crowley has some experience with the property. He represents Norfolk Southern railroad, which owns the 75 acres between Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and the Raccoon River where Hubbell wants to develop a range of housing types, a wetland conservation area, trails, green spaces, and maybe a smattering of specialty retail shops. For now, the land is weedy, sprouts a healthy population of scrub cottonwoods, and is a land of odd experiences for those who wander around it, as Crowley has. So has Sacco.

Crowley's story first. He was walking the property with a Norfolk Southern security guard when a homeless man used a cellphone to call Des Moines police and report two trespassers — Crowley and the railroad cop.

"I found it interesting that in an area with absolutely no electricity, the homeless guy had a fully charged cellphone," Crowley said.

Sacco, a freelance copywriter and writer who has taken it upon himself to prove that "Des Moines is not boring," likes to explore the area on his mountain bike, finding untold treasures.

"Along with poison ivy, sunburn and the occasional road rash, I've come out of there with old railroad relics, bricks (big, honkin pavers, not the wimpy modern kind), lost-and-found clothing and I even uprooted a small evergreen tree that's finally taking off after two years," he said in an email. "It's such a cool place to be lost and alone — right smack dab in the city."

If Sacco had a vote to cast on the Gray's Station project, it would be "no." On Thursday, the city's Plan & Zoning Commission voted to continue consideration of a range of Hubbell requests on July 20.