Stop work order issued for Kinnick Stadium-style house in Iowa City
Neighbors claim city officials erred in issuing building permit
IOWA CITY — Work on a home designed to look like the Iowa Hawkeyes’ Kinnick Stadium cannot proceed after residents in the Iowa City neighborhood where the home would be built filed an appeal Wednesday with the city’s Board of Adjustments.
Residents in the Manville Heights neighborhood claim city officials made errors in approving the site plan and issuing a building permit to Frederic Reed Carlson, who proposes to build the Kinnick-style, single-family home at 101 Lusk Ave.
The appeal, which generated a stop work order, was filed one day after Carlson received his building permit from the city.
According to online documents from City Housing and Inspection Services, there were no workers on the lot Wednesday when city officials issued the order to the contractor.
Neighbors expressed concern over the house’s intended use at a recent city council meeting, saying it might be used for large gatherings especially during football season. The 7,400-square-foot house has an exterior designed to mimic Kinnick Stadium.
Designs show the house’s top level includes spaces like a traditional home — bedrooms and a kitchen. However, the ground floor plans include an industrial kitchen, a courtyard, a basketball court and men’s and women’s bathrooms.
Carlson, who is a Decorah native, said in a previous interview with The Gazette that he plans to use it as a second home and he signed an affidavit explaining the intended use of the home. He said it may be used for occasional family gatherings but is likely to be vacant much of the year.
The Gazette was unable to reach Carlson for this story.
Sarah Walz, a representative of the Iowa City Board of Adjustment, said an automatic stay is issued when an appeal of a building permit is filed. Attorney James Larew, who represents the neighbors, said he expects the appeal to be heard at the board’s Aug. 10 meeting.
Lawrew said the Iowa City Board of Adjustments is made up of five citizens who are appointed by the city council. He said board members hear appeals of any decision made at the staff level, or those under the city manager.
Larew said his clients, both the Neighbors of Manville Heights Association and some individual Iowa City residents, believe the city was wrong on three separate instances, which eventually allowed the building permit to be issued.
Those who appealed are Karin Southard, president of the neighborhood association, along with Anne Lahey, Craig Syrop, Anne Sadler, Bill and Karen Ackerman and Bradley and Catherine Erikson, according to the application for appeal.
Larew, who also lives in the neighborhood, said he and the neighbors believe the city made an error in classifying the Kinnick-like house as a single-family home. He said the structure is “really an entertainment venue by another name.”
The application for appeal also claims the city erred in approving the site plan because it does not meet seven of the minimum requirements of city code — including those for drainage, fire safety and vehicle and pedestrian circulation.
The last piece of the appeal said the city made an error in approving the building permit for the Kinnick-like house because it does not meet city code. This portion of the appeal outlined goals of the zoning code, which include the most appropriate use of land, to lessen congestion in the streets and preserve open space and protect natural scenic or historic resources.
“We think the city is wrong on all three issues,” Larew said.
While the city council has no say in the matter, the issue is set to be discussed during an upcoming meeting. Larew said neighbors understand the council members can’t do anything but they wanted to express their concerns and ask “how do we get to this point?”
This isn’t the first time Carlson’s Kinnik-like house has been met with opposition. The University Heights City Council denied his attempt last year to build a similar home on Highland Drive when it rejected a sewer easement tied to the proposal.
Detailed plans for the Kinnick Stadium-style house: