IOWA CITY — The man who wants to build a home in Iowa City resembling Kinnick Stadium spoke Wednesday during a hearing of the city’s Board of Adjustment, saying he feels the 7,500-square-foot structure would serve as a “central gathering spot for our family for years to come.”
Frederic Reed Carlson proposes to build the home at 101 Lusk Avenue, but a group calling itself the Neighbors of Manville Heights Association is challenging the project and argues that Iowa City officials erred in classifying the house as a single-family structure and granting Carlson and his wife Sandy a building permit. They filed an appeal with the Board of Adjustment, which began its hearing on the matter last week with a six-hour meeting at Iowa City Hall.
The hearing continued for another five hours Wednesday without the board reaching a decision. The hearing is now to continue at 6:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 30, in Council Chambers at City Hall, 410 E. Washington St. Board Chairman Larry Baker said a decision is expected at that meeting.
Carlson addressed the board Wednesday, reiterating the house would be used for family get-togethers and that it meets all the requirements for a single-family home. Carlson, of Decorah, said he has firm roots in Iowa City and is a longtime season ticket holder for University of Iowa football. He said Iowa City is centrally located for many of his family members who enjoy coming to Iowa City to see friends and attend events.
Carlson took board members Tim Weitzel, T. Gene Chrischilles, Becky Soglin and Baker through a room-by-room tour of the proposed house to explain its intended use. Much of the space is designed to be Kinnick-themed and provide play space for grandchildren or spots for family meals or recreation, he said. The house includes a top level with four bedrooms and a laundry room. The bottom floor and basement include a theater, basketball court, a courtyard, kitchen and large restrooms.
Carlson said family members would host tailgates at the house, but those would take place in the completely enclosed courtyard.
“For me, the emphasis is solidly on making a home for our family. This is the principal use for our property,” said Sandy Carlson. “I’m convinced that the passage of time will show this community that we are good neighbors.”
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Before the Carlsons spoke, members of the neighbors group addressed the board, speaking primarily of concerns regarding safety. Many fear the home is to be used as a party house
“Where will these partygoers park? How will they get to the game?” asked Catherine Erickson, who lives at 11 Rowland Court and expressed concerns about the extra traffic and pedestrians a large tailgate party may generate if held at the house. “It will be a public safety hazard for all children and residents who currently play and live in this neighborhood.”
Dina Janzen, who lives at 612 Bayard St., said Carlson should be responsible for developing a turnaround for emergency vehicles at the end of the dead-end street — which would cause a redesign. Neighbors then laid out a floor diagram to show how many fire and rescue vehicles could fit on Lusk Avenue — a 20 foot-wide roadway.
City officials already have weighed in during the hearing. Doug Boothroy, director of Neighborhood and Development Services for Iowa City, addressed the board last week, saying city staff carefully considered the building proposal and site plan before approving a building permit. He said city code allows great latitude in what is considered a single-family dwelling and the Kinnick-style house meets those criteria.
One member of the Board of Adjustment, Constance Goeb, has recused herself from the hearing, meaning the fate of the project lies in the hands of the remaining four members. The decision of the board is binding and can only be challenged through an appeal to district court.