University Heights Zoning Commission shoots down proposed commercial development - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

University Heights Zoning Commission shoots down proposed commercial development

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UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS (KWWL) - The University Heights Zoning Commission met Wednesday evening, and voted 3-2 against re-zoning an area of the city to allow a new commercial and condo project.

It was good news for many neighbor's who don't want the development to happen.

The intersection of Melrose Avenue and Sunset Street is at the center the heated debate.

"There are many people here that want to preserve this community as a residential community," said Wally Heitman, a zoning commissioner.

Heitman has spoken with many people living around St. Andrew Church, which would be moved and built elsewhere to make room for the new buildings. He believes there's a consensus: "there's a fairly significant percentage who are against it."

Some worry that the city will have no control over what kind of businesses move in. Those in favor of this development say the prospect of a neighborhood grocery store moving in would greatly benefit University Heights. But those opposed worry it will turn into a strip-mall.

However, supporters claim new businesses would breathe life into the city, and bring in money.

Joseph Frankel says it would do away with a lot of needless driving in the area. "You have this kind of development which is within walking distance of where people work. Nowadays, not many people will walk."

But those on the other side of the fence say the new buildings, standing much taller than those around them, would not fit in, and bring in nuisance traffic.

"We're not opposed to development of the property at all," said Larry Wilson, "but we are opposed to the density of the development. We think it's too much out of character with the neighborhood."

The project would also mean an expansion of the Melrose and Sunset intersection. The city council will have the final word on the issue on June 9th. They would need to vote 4-1 in favor of the project to overrule the commission's decision. 

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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