116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Iowa City Council members will meet with the city’s planning and zoning commission before voting on a proposed development near Hickory Hill Park.
“It sounds like most of us would like to confer with P and Z on this,” council member Pauline Taylor said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
The matter at hand was the rezoning of 48.75 acres from interim development single-family to low density single-family to make way for a housing development that would also include a senior living facility. The proposed development northeast of the 185-acre Hickory Hill Park would add 14 acres of land to the park.
However, after receiving public comments that were largely opposed to the rezoning, council members signaled they would not vote in favor of the rezoning. The proposed rezoning had been recommended by the planning and zoning commission at its May meeting.
The original proposal from developers Joe Clark and Nelson Development included 43 single-family homes, 10 single-family condos and the memory care and assisted living facility. However, the planning and zoning commission rejected the proposal twice before approving the third revised approval. Danielle Sitzman, development services coordinator for the city, said the developers removed the condos and eliminated a majority of the single family homes on the west side of the street that comprises the development.
“We heard a lot of feedback from the public concerned about how this would impact the park,” said Michael Welch of Axiom Consultants, the consulting firm for the developers. “I think it’s a real testament to how hard we worked to address those concerns.”
However, members of the public who addressed the council were not swayed. Concerns included the lack of affordable housing, the size of the senior living facility and the whether the proposed development is in line with the city’s comprehensive plan and Northeast District plan. Those plans call for cul-de-sacs and single-loaded streets, among other provisions.
“I think they’re trying to maximize profits and get the most money out of that,“ said Casey Kohrt, chairman of the board for Friends of Hickory Hill Park. ”The developer has to push as many houses into that property as they can to make a profit.“
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