Iowa City council to consider proposed zoning changes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City council to consider proposed zoning changes

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A zoning issue under debate could have an impact on college students and the surrounding community.

In Iowa City, officials are considering changes in laws dealing with neighborhoods around the University of Iowa campus.

Jim Walters of Iowa City lives in a quiet neighborhood less than a mile away from the heart of campus

"I like a mixed neighborhood of a lot of different people and a lot of different things going on, and we've got that kind of a neighborhood here," Walters said. 

The historic area features everything from homes and small businesses, to places of worship and off-campus student housing.

Some now are concerned the make-up of the area is about to take on an altogether different form.

"We've kind of been taken aback by a bunch of developments that seem a little at odds with the neighborhood as we've seen it evolve," Walters said.

Record enrollment at the University of Iowa mean there's a greater demand for off-campus housing.

"This big bump in our first year class that's been able to trickle through over time now so there's going to be more students who may need off-campus housing," UI Director of Housing Von Stange said.

Developers have proposed three large scale apartment complexes out of character with neighborhoods like Walters'.

"It's a little bit unfair to say a compliant zoning that comes in and lowers my property values is an appropriate thing to do," he said.

The high-density housing projects were voted down by the city council.

Now city leaders are proposing changes to the zoning that would not allow multi-family housing units with more than three bedrooms or more than three unrelated people living there in surrounding campus neighborhoods.

Many in these neighborhoods say they welcome growth.  They just hope it makes sense within the scope of the neighborhood.

The Iowa City city council will take up the zoning proposal Tuesday and could set a date for a public hearing.

A hearing would trigger a moratorium on construction projects that haven't broken ground and aren't within the boundaries of the proposed amendments.

The Greater Iowa City Area Home Builders Association says a moratorium would have a "chilling effect on construction activity in the Iowa City area."

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