No decision on Kinnick-like house

Board of Adjustment hearing to be continued

  • Photo

IOWA CITY — IOWA CITY — Despite a marathon meeting that lasted deep into the night Wednesday, nothing has been decided regarding the fate of a landowner’s plans to build a home resembling the Iowa Hawkeyes football stadium in Iowa City.

The Iowa City Board of Adjustment convened Wednesday’s hearing around 5:15 p.m. and ultimately decided to continue the proceedings at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, at City Hall, 410 E. Washington St. Wednesday’s hearing wrapped up around 11:30 p.m.

The purpose of the hearing is to consider an appeal filed by a group of residents calling themselves the Neighbors of Manville Heights Association who are aiming to stop landowner Reed Carlson from building the 7,500-square-foot Kinnick-like house at 101 Lusk Ave.

The residents filed the appeal earlier this year after Iowa City officials granted Carlson a building permit and approved a site plan for the home. The group says the city erred in classifying the house as a single-family dwelling, wrongfully approved the site plan and should not have issued a building permit.

Dozens of people, some spilling out of the room, filled the City Council Chambers at Iowa City Hall Wednesday to listen in as Board of Adjustment members Tim Weitzel, T. Gene Chrischilles, Becky Soglin and Chairman Larry Baker heard presentations from both sides — the city and neighbors. Board member Constance Goeb recused herself from the proceedings.

Doug Boothroy, director of Neighborhood and Development Services for Iowa City, spoke first, delivering a presentation on behalf of the city and then fielding questions for about three hours from board members. In his presentation, Boothroy meticulously addressed each one of the neighbors claims filed in the appeal, focusing a great deal of attention on whether the house should be considered a single-family residence.

“We concluded that dwelling is designed and intended to be used as a single-family dwelling,” Boothroy said. “We wanted to make sure that we got it right, that we left no code provision unturned.”

The Kinnick-style house includes a top level with four bedrooms and laundry room. The bottom floor and basement include a theater, basketball court, a court yard, a kitchen, large restrooms and more.

Boothroy said the house meets the requirements of a single-family dwelling, which is how the property is already zoned, because it has elements intended for sleeping, eating, cooking and living. He added city code gives landowners a lot of freedom to build houses any way they please, no matter the recreational features.

“It gives wide latitude to what is a single-family dwelling and wide latitude for what can be used as recreational use,” Boothroy said.

In their appeal, neighbors said they believe the property’s primary use would be as an entertainment venue that could fit as many as 200 people.

“One need not go further than reviewing the planned uses of the various rooms of the entertainment structure ... to determine that the principle use of this building will not be that of a single family residence for owners who do not even reside in Iowa City,” the appeal said.

Carlson lives in Decorah. He has said the home would not be a party house and would only be used occasionally for family gatherings.

Neither Carlson nor his attorneys commented on Wednesday’s proceedings. They are to be given time to address the board when it reconvenes next week.

Shortly before 10 p.m., Jim Larew, an attorney representing the neighborhood group, began his presentation to the board.

He reiterated residents’ belief the house is being built as an entertainment venue. He said entertainment venues and residences each have certain characteristics and officials must do their best to identify those. He said it’s clear the primary use for this home would be for entertainment and the secondary use would be as a home.

Several residents then addressed the board and more are expected to speak when the hearing continues next week.

Many who spoke Wednesday addressed the issue of the sewer line on the Lusk Avenue property, which services two homes surrounding the site and would also service the Kinnick-like house.

“It lacks a separate sewer ... therefore it’s misclassified,” said Craig Syrop, who lives at 117 Lusk Ave. “If the sewer won’t fit, you must not permit.”

Bill Ackerman, who lives at 631 Bayard St., said he simply believes the house it not a good fit for his neighborhood.

“I do not believe this is a house,” he said. “I believe this is an entertainment venue that will be a detriment to the neighborhood.

“It just doesn’t fit.”

l Comments: (319) 339-3172; maddy.arnold@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

Have you found an error or omission in our reporting? Tell us here.
Do you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.