116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — A fourth version of a proposed housing development near Hickory Hill Park will be coming before the Iowa City Planning & Zoning Commission in October.
The updated proposal for rezoning the 48-acre plot northeast of the park, 1439 E. Bloomington St. in northeast Iowa City, is scaled back from previous plans and devotes nearly three times more land to the park.
The proposal includes a 120-bed senior living facility and 38 acres of land dedicated to the city for public open space and expansion of Hickory Hill Park, according to a Sept. 13 letter from Axiom Consultants to neighbors and the city.
“This represents the largest land donation to the park in its history,” Michael Welch, project engineer with Axiom Consultants, wrote in the letter.
Residents have opposed previous plans for the project, proposed by Axiom Consultants and Nelson Development.
The development was first presented to the city’s Planning and Zoning commission in February and was shot down.
The commission later endorsed a third version of the plan, which would have added 14 acres to the park. It called for 41 lots of single-family housing and the senior living facility.
Iowa City Council members approved the rezoning needed for that plan in its first two readings but reversed course in late July during its final consideration, rejecting the proposal in a 5-2 vote.
The most current rezoning proposal would extend Hickory Trail to the west to serve the senior living facility, which would be on 9.29 acres of land at the southeast corner of the plot.
Project planners propose a non-development buffer between the senior facility and the park to “preserve the existing wooded area, stream corridor and overall character of the land,” Welch wrote.
The applicants are still looking to rezone low-density single-family residential.
City staff will review the rezoning request and make a recommendation to the Planning and Zoning Commission, Welch wrote.
A meeting was held with residents earlier this week to share the updated proposal, hear feedback and answer questions.
The revised plan, Welch said, “was well received by the community, as far as we could tell at the meeting.”
Anne Russett, a senior planner with the city, said the applicant is responsible for putting together a summary of the meeting, which will be included in the commission’s staff report.
The Gazette reached out to the nonprofit Friends of Hickory Hill Park but has not yet heard back.
The new development proposal could come before the zoning commission on Oct. 21, though that date could change, according to Russett.
The city will send a notification when the commission will consider the plan and on how to provide input.
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